Muslim civil rights group call for closure of training center in Chinese region state where 1 million Uyghur Muslims imprisoned
(HOUSTON, TX - 10/7/2019) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its Houston chapter today condemned the National Basketball Association (NBA) for silencing Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey over his support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and for the league’s continued operation of a training academy in Xinjiang province, where more than a million Uyghur Muslims are still imprisoned in concentration camps.
Last week, Morey tweeted in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, prompting several Chinese companies, including the state broadcaster, to suspend work with the team.
The tweet was soon deleted, and the NBA released a statement standing with the Chinese government and distancing itself from Morey’s remarks. Houston Rockets player James Harden outright apologized.
SEE: NBA In Crisis After Bashing GM To Appease China
This recent episode is not the first time that the league has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses in China. The league continues to operate a training center in China’s Xinjiang province, even after reports released in 2018 revealed that more than a million Uyghur Muslims are being interned in that province in reeducation facilities where they are forced to listen to lectures, learn Mandarin, sing songs praising the Chinese Communist Party, and are coerced into abandoning their faith. Some inmates are forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, both forbidden activities in Islam. Some are tortured.
SEE: NBA Operates Basketball Training Center In Chinese Region Where 1 Million Uyghur Muslims Said To Be Imprisoned
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
“The NBA’s silencing of Rockets GM Daryl Morey for his support of democratic protests is shameful, but unfortunately not surprising.
“Its continued operation of a training facility in the Xinjiang province while more than a million Uyghur Muslims remain incarcerated solely for practicing their faith makes the NBA complicit in one of the most egregious human rights violations in the 21st century.
“The league has demonstrated a commitment to putting profits before people and ignoring human rights. When the NBA looks at China’s almost 1.4 billion citizens, it sees consumers, not human beings.
“As the NBA prioritizes Chinese consumers over their government’s treatment of protestors in Hong Kong and Muslims in Xinjiang, we as Americans must hold the organization accountable to our democratic values and ideals with our support, viewership and attendance at games.”
In a statement, CAIR-Houston Executive Director Lubabah Abdullah said:
"The National Basketball Association should not capitulate to pressure from a foreign dictatorship that brutalizes activists, suppresses free speech, and engages in ethnic cleansing. Mr. Morey should stand by his Tweet, and the NBA should stand by him. So should James Harden.
"The Chinese Communist Party wants to silence anyone who dares to criticize its gross human rights abuses, including the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims. Governments, corporations, and activists around the world must not give in. We must speak up even more loudly.
"The best way to stand up to China's attempt to bully the world into silence is to stand united for the right to free speech.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-Houston Executive Director Lubabah Abdullah, email@example.com, 713-838-2247