Rain of criticism for the caption of a photo published on the internet: Mujahid Yusof Rawa has "aligned" with Beijing official version. In Xinjiang about 1 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are detained. For Beijing, "vocational training centers" are vital in the fight against separatism and radicalism.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Minister of Religious Affairs of Malaysia has come under fire for criticism at home because, during a visit to China, he described a concentration camp for the Uyghur minority as a "vocational training institute".
Last week, during a seven-day trip, Mujahid Yusof Rawa (photo 1) published an image on his Facebook page depicting people sitting at classroom desks. The description accompanying the photograph, published on June 26, cites a "visit to a vocational training institute" for the Uyghur ethnic community in the Xinjiang region (photos 2-3-4).
According to estimates by international bodies such as the United Nations (UN), Chinese authorities are detaining about 1 million Uyghurs and people belonging to Turkic Muslim minorities. Beijing defends itself by saying that internment camps are actually structures to keep people from extremism; it describes them as "vocational training centers", vital in the fight against separatist sentiment and religious extremism.
Fr. Ramasamy, a politician in the ruling coalition in Malaysia, says he is "disappointed that Mujahid has followed the official Chinese line". "There is nothing wrong with finding investments from China or other countries. But then there is a line to draw when it comes to human rights," he told the Malaysiakini news site.
Mujahid defends himself, stressing that his visit "involved other aspects". These, he says, include "the creation of a global cooperation network between Malaysia and China, to exchange views and information on issues such as peace and religion".
Malaysia has been the harshest crtic among the Islamic countries of Asia of Beijing's policies against the Uyghurs. Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, said in the early days of June: "Many Muslim countries continue to remain silent" about the persecution of the Uyghurs, indeed they "support the repression" towards them: "it is a shame because we are Muslims and we suffer religious persecution ".