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CAIR Welcomes Upcoming Congressional Hearings on Persecution of Burmese, Chinese Muslims

Muslim civil rights group encourages American Muslims, those who support religious liberty to attend

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/24/18) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee’s decision to schedule hearings this week on Burma’s persecution of the Rohingya Muslims and China’s persecution of Muslims and other religious groups

The House Foreign Affairs hearings will take place on Wednesday and Thursday this week:

  • Full Committee hearing on “Genocide Against the Burmese Rohingya,” Wednesday, September 26, at 10 AM in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific hearing on “China’s Repression and Internment of Uyghurs: U.S. Policy Responses,” Wednesday, September 26, at 2 PM in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing on “China’s War on Christianity and Other Religious Faiths,” Thursday, September 27, at 2 PM in 2255 Rayburn House Office Building.

CAIR ACTION ALERT: CAIR is encouraging American Muslims and all those who support religious freedom to attend these hearings. All three hearings are open to the public. CAIR urges those who plan to attend any of the hearings to arrive at least one hour ahead to guarantee a seat in the chamber.

“As the United States and its European allies engage China on its rising role in global affairs, they must make it clear to the Chinese government that freedom of religion and freedom from persecution for religious beliefs is a hallmark of universal human rights and that they will not stand by while China pursues its anti-Muslim policies. Likewise, the U.S. government must formally recognize and take proactive steps against the state of Burma’s genocide of its Rohingya Muslim citizens and persecution of other religious minorities, including Kachin Christians.”

On China’s Mass Persecution of Uyghur Muslims

Fearing the challenge religious dogma could pose to its stranglehold on political power, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a long history of religious repression, particularly against the Uyghurs.

In 2015 and 2017, CAIR sent letters directly to President Xi Jinping responding to reports of Muslims being denied the freedom to fast during Ramadan and the confiscation of Qurans and other religious items, respectively.

On September 10, CAIR called for international action in defense of religious freedom following a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) detailing the “mass, systematic campaign of human rights violations against Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang in northwestern China.”

Congress is already urging the Trump administration to act on these reports. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin which received bipartisan support, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) wrote:

“Muslim ethnic minorities are being subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, egregious restrictions on religious practice and culture, and a digitized surveillance system so pervasive that every aspect of daily life is monitored”¦ Given the gravity of the situation, and the severity and scope of the rights abuses being perpetrated, we urge you to apply Global Magnitsky sanctions, and consider additional measures, against senior Chinese Government and Communist Party officials who oversee these repressive policies.”

On Burma’s Genocide of Rohingya Muslims

The House on Foreign Affairs’ full committee hearing on the Rohingya genocide comes just over a year after the Burmese government undertook a military-led ethnic-cleansing campaign in the northern state of Rakhine, killing thousands and causing upwards of 700,000 to flee their homes for neighboring Bangladesh.

In a statement by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce:

“Thousands of men, women and children have been slaughtered, entire villages have been burned and bulldozed, and more than 700,000 have been forced to flee their homes. The administration has tools at hand to hold Burmese officials accountable. This hearing is an opportunity for members to examine the latest developments in this crisis and review the action that’s needed to help stop the violence.”

In a 2017 letter, CAIR called on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley to cut funding to Burma and reimpose the sanctions lifted during the Obama administration.

CAIR urges the Committee on Foreign Affairs to act decisively and send a message to the Burmese and Chinese governments and the world at large that the United States will not tolerate the violation of the religious freedoms of Muslims anywhere.

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, 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.

END

CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

 

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