The Uighurs are a Turkic ethnic group that lives in China and throughout Northern Asia. In ancient times, the main religions of this group included, Shamanism and Tengrism, then Manicheanism, Buddhism and Church of the East. Today, most Uighurs are Muslim. Recently, many Uighurs have felt that they are being discriminated against in China because of their religion and culture.
A recent report says that over 100 Uighurs have been detained for the spread of “religious extremism.” The details about extreme the religious extremism really was, were not released. China is often separated on religion and when a group attempts to push religion or pursue their religion in extreme and illegal ways, Chinese officials are quick to detain them.
Uighers have also had a hard time finding jobs in China. There are numerous jobs available throughout the country, but Uighurs do not qualify for many of them because of their ethnicity. Many truck driving companies will not hire Uighurs because they believe that trucks that hall gas and chemicals could easily be turned into weapons.
Many countries around the world are biased against certain ethnic groups and religions, so although unfair, such situations are not uncommon.
“The bottom line is that the Chinese don’t trust us, and that is having a corrosive impact on life in Xinjiang,” said Ilham Tohti, a prominent Uighur economist in Beijing. “And the way things are going, it’s going to get worse.”
Uighers have been blamed for many terrorist activities in China and say that they find it difficult to obtain passports and reenter the country after traveling abroad. The fear of the Uighers in China is so great that they are questioned about their daily activities on a regular basis so police and Chinese officials can be sure that they are not participating in terrorist activities or apart of separatist groups. Many Uighers fear that they are not given the same opportunities as other people of different ethnicities and with different religions and say that they are worried about their future in China.
Images from Wikimedia Commons.