Emirati princess airs support for persecuted Muslim Uyghurs


United Arab Emirates (UAE) princess Hend Faisal Al Qassimi on Sunday took to Twitter to issue a rare voice of support for persecuted Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.

Sheikha Al Qassimi was responding to a call by Uyghur activist Arslan Hidayat on social media for Muslims to post images of themselves marking Ramadan to show solidarity with Uyghurs, who are largely prevented from participating in the religious activities of the holy month by Chinese authorities.

In the video, the author and fashion editor greets her fellow Muslims observing Ramadan and expresses her solidarity with their fight against oppression and hope the Chinese Muslim soon be released from the concentration camps.

Sheikha Al Qassimi acknowledged that the Muslim and Arab world has been largely unaware of the situation in the XUAR citing language barriers and ongoing wars in many Muslim-majority nations, but said she hopes to help highlight the plight of the Uyghurs.

The princess said that she “stumbled upon [the campaign]on Twitter, and I had no idea that this was happening. I visited China and I liked it very much. I love the culture, I like the food, I love the fashion. I like how a country that was a farming nation became a superpower. I was very happy for them.”

“But later on, when I saw what they were doing to the Uyghurs, I didn’t like it and I hope that we can do something to stop it. Maybe we can speak to the Chinese government and tell them to stop,” she said.

The princess’s  video came days after the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress exile group issued a statement for Ramadan noting that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the leaders of Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East have been ‘shamefully silent’ on the persecution of Uyghurs in the XUAR, and calling for pressure on China to ‘stop its crimes against humanity’ in the region.

Sheikha Al Qassimi ended by saying that “by simply speaking about what China is doing in a polite way, maybe they will turn. I’m not doing it in an aggressive way because if you do it in an aggressive way, they will attack, and they will not listen … We should stand together and approach the Chinese government about ending the camps.” (Source: RFA)