New Zealand’s Jewish and Muslim communities plead for the Uighurs

July 23, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Leaders of the New Zealand Jewish and Muslim communities have written to the country’s prime minister and foreign minister to join other countries in supporting China’s Uighurs calling their persecution as genocide.

Uigurs displaying lost family members         Screenshot

The New Zealand Jewish Council’s president Stephen Goodman and Mustafa Farouk the president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand penned a joint letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters expressing their “deep concern and anguish over the persecution of the Uighur population in the Xinjiang region of China”.

Jacinda Ardern

Mustapha Farouk

In the letter which mentions the Holocaust and quotes Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel they wrote: “Recently, there has been mounting and indisputable evidence of human rights atrocities being inflicted on the Uighur people by the government of the People’s Republic of China. This includes forced sterilisation of women, removal of children, torture, and repressive surveillance. Chinese citizens are being loaded into trains and transported to concentration camps, where they suffer abhorrent treatment, for no other reason than that their Muslim faith and their culture is considered undesirable by the regime. While there have been many grave human rights violations since the end of World War II, we have witnessed nothing of the nature, magnitude and sophistication of what the Uighur people are now suffering. We cannot say “we did not know”, because we do.

Winston Peters

When we speak of the Holocaust and other genocides, we say “never again”. For these words to be more than a hollow slogan, indifference is not an option. We must not make excuses and we must take meaningful action.”

Stephen Goodman

They pleaded: “We ask that the Government shows the moral leadership that New Zealand is known for, including after the Mosque attacks of last year, and urgently join with the United Kingdom and other allies in taking a stand, whether that be through sanctions or some other form.

And we must call this persecution what it is – Genocide.

We remember the Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel who said: ‘Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the centre of the universe’.”

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