Friday, July 08, 2005

On London II: The anti-terrorist Muslims of East Turkestan

One aspect of the political aftermath of the London terrorist attack has been painfully predictable: the discussion of the “Muslim community.” As has become typical when an attack like this occurs, a whole slew of pundits, bloggers, and the like are lamenting – “the muted responses of ‘moderate’ Muslim spokespersons to attacks on innocents” as the Friendly Blog Small Dead Animals put it earlier today. Every time I see this, my blood boils.

Now, that’s nothing against SDA, or anyone else who brings up this point. What bothers me is that they are continually looking in the wrong places. Whenever I see lines like the above, I want to scream, they’re right here; I’ve known several of them for years.

Well, now I don’t have to scream, I can just type it: the people you all seek – the Muslims ready and willing to call terrorism the evil it is and stand up for those who resist it – have been here for quite a while. They are the East Turkestan National Freedom Center and, since September 2004, the East Turkestan Government in Exile.

For those who are not familiar with the folks I just mentioned, here's a little background . . .

In 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s government on the mainland, they invited the leaders of East Turkestan, then an independent nation just north of (and a bit larger than) Tibet, to come to Beijing for talks on the country’s future. On August 27 of that year, the plane carrying the leaders of East Turkestan crashed, killing all on board. The Communist marched in and have occupied the overwhelmingly Muslim country ever since (they even renamed it “Xinjiang”).

The occupation has been beyond brutal: open-air above-ground nuclear tests that killed hundreds of thousands, executed political prisoners, razed mosques, mass forced immigration of ethnic Chinese, deliberate economic discrimination in favor of said ethnic Chinese, “Sinicization,” etc.

Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden has spoken out against the American military presence in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the Israeli military presence in the West Bank, and has even talked of reclaiming Spain (last under Muslim control in the 15th Century), but on the brutal treatment of Muslims in East Turkestan – just next door to his five-year headquarters in Afghanistan – he has been completely silent, lest he offend his Communist friends.

Despite this, on September 11, 2001, Communist China saw an opportunity, and grabbed it with both hands. Suddenly, the Muslim resistance in East Turkestan was all the rage in Communist China, with one change: the Communists were now claiming their Muslim dissidents were supporters of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

This was, and still is, the height of unmitigated gall. Communist China is itself one of the leading supporters of terrorism on the planet, with aid and succor given to the aforementioned al Qaeda, Iran’s Islamofascist regime, the Taliban (second and third items), and Saddam Hussein. The idea that they would now be fighting terrorism was ridiculous, but they continue to say it, and far too many people continue to believe them.

It was in researching for my book that I came across the East Turkestani exiles here in the United States, including the folks at the East Turkestan National Freedom Center. Talking to these East Turkestani exiles (also known as Uighurs, their predominant ethnic group, although there are many Kyrgyzs, Uzbeks, and Tajiks among them), I found Muslims who were unabashedly supportive of the United States, and wanted nothing to do with al Qaeda or any other terrorists. One of them actually told me the country for which he has the most affection in the Middle East is Israel.

On September 14, 2004 (on my advice) they formed the East Turkestan Government in Exile, to give those in occupied East Turkestan a voice once again, and let the American people – indeed, the peoples of all democracies – know that there was a Muslim nation that condemned terrorism and supported freedom. They have proclaimed that message ever since.

I have been very close to some of the leaders of the Government in Exile, and I am proud to call the Prime Minister, Anwar Yusuf Turani, a friend. As such, the back-and-forth over Islam that follows every major terrorist attack, coupled with the fact that no one seems to notice my friends and what they are trying to do, always has me seething.

Now, I can finally give them some of the attention they deserve. The next time someone asks where are the Muslims willing to stand up against terrorism? – and believe me, it won’t take long – please point them in the direction of the East Turkestan National Freedom Center and the East Turkestan Government in Exile. You will not only help a group of pro-American Muslims; you will also help those resisting the terrorists’ greatest benefactor: Communist China.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was steered here by the lovely hostess of Small Dead Animals. Thanks for pointing the way to the exception to the rule that muslims tend to support terrorists, one way or another.

Perhaps these East Turkestanis will form the nucleus of a growing group of rational muslims who will want to peacefully coexist with the non-muslims of the world. If so, they might be able to forestall an incredible human tragedy that seems almost unavoidable at this point.