Indonesia's Muslims shaken by Uighur issue: Mahfud MD

Indonesia's Muslims shaken by Uighur issue: Mahfud MD

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD (ANTARA/Zuhdiar Laeis/aa).

I invited the Chinese ambassador to the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs' office during which I told him that the situation pertaining to Uighur Muslims has perturbed several Muslims in Indonesia
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, confirmed highlighting the issue of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang at his closed-door meeting with Chinese Ambassador in Jakarta Xiao Qian on Dec 5, affirming it had shaken Indonesian Muslims.

"I invited the Chinese ambassador to the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs' office during which I told him that the situation pertaining to Uighur Muslims has perturbed several Muslims in Indonesia," he stated.

In a statement on his Twitter account that ANTARA quoted on Wednesday morning, Mahfud MD questioned the rationale behind a conflict erupting with Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang while other Chinese Muslims in other places felt secure.

The question he raised at the meeting with Ambassador Qian was in no way meant to intervene in the Chinese government's affairs but instead to discuss the issue to unearth and address the root causes of the problem.

"I lay stress on the fact that we do not want to intervene in the problem. In its place, we are just keen to know about the problem. After he (the ambassador) explained it, it is sufficient. We do not want to intervene in the issue," he explained.

Mahfud MD expressed interest in gaining a broader understanding of the issue of Uighur Muslims since during his several visits to China, he had noticed numerous mosques, halal restaurants, and Muslim settlements.

Indonesia shares a sound diplomatic relationship with China. Hence, Jakarta will not intervene in the Uighur Muslims-related issue since it is perceived as a domestic problem of the Chinese government.

"Hence, we adopt the approach of soft diplomacy. I just seek direct explanation from the Chinese ambassador," he stated.

Over these past few months, China has come under the glaring light of global media outlets over its alleged human rights abuses against and mistreatment of Uighur Muslims.

Related news: NU, Muhammadiyah reassert concern over Uighurs, reject WSJ's reports

On Dec 20, 2019, Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) Secretary General Anwar Abbas had urged the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Summit to take a firm, stern stance against China to optimally fight the repression of the Uighur ethnic group in Xinjiang.

"The MUI calls on participants of the summit of Islamic countries in Kuala Lumpur or the KL Summit to take a firm and stern stance against the Chinese government," Abbas noted in a written statement made available to ANTARA.

He stated that Muslims worldwide vehemently oppose China's alleged mistreatment of Uighur Muslims.

The Chinese government has committed blatant human rights violations against Uighur Muslims, including preventing them from offering religious services in accordance with their religion and belief, he pointed out.

"We realize that as a state, China has the right to govern them. However, they must not oppress the human rights of their people, especially the fundamental rights of Muslims there," he remarked.

He urged the Chinese government to end violence against Uighur Muslims with immediate effect. The ethnic minority in China should be given an opportunity to exercise their religious rights and follow their religious teachings without any hindrance.

He cautioned that in the absence of this, the world will be siphoned into new local and global tensions.

"People in each country, especially Muslim nations, including Indonesia, will appeal to their government to take a firm stand with regard to the Chinese government. Thus, this will have a detrimental impact on the development they are conducting," he added.

In response to this global allegation, the Chinese government maintains its stance by saying that the "Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnicity, or religion but about fighting violence, terrorism, and separatism. (INE)

Related news: Indonesia should not remain mere spectator in Uighur issue: Wahid
Related news: KL Summit should act firmly against China over Uighur: MUI
Related news: NU urges China to allow Uighur Muslims to perform services

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