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Month: June 2018

Why Japan Attacked Pearl Harbor

On December 7th 1941, a Japanese attack on the U.S Pacific naval headquarters at Pearl Harbor, damaged or destroyed nearly 20 American ships and more than 300 airplanes in less than two hours which claimed the lives of more than 2,400 people, and wounded 1,000 more.

But why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor in 1941?

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Why are Uyghur Muslims in China being oppressed?

In recent years, reports about the oppression of Muslims in unusual places such as the plight of Rohingya in Myanmar have filtered down to Western audiences. However, little is known about the brutal oppression the Uyghur Muslims face in the autonomous territory of northwest China named Xinjiang but known to the indigenous Uyghurs as East Turkestan.

Historical background of the Uyghurs

Uyghurs are predominately Turkic-speaking Sunni Muslims who live primarily in the autonomous region of East Turkestan (Xinjiang). Prior to Islam, the Uyghurs embraced Buddhism, Shamanism, and Manicheism.

Islam arrived in the region in the 10th century. Uyghurs embraced Islam in 934 during the Karahanid Kingdom. Kashgar, the capital of the Kingdom, quickly became one of the major learning centres of Islam.

During this time, the Islamic institutions enabled the society to flourish in the sciences and literature. In this period, hundreds of world-renowned Uyghur scholars emerged and thousands of valuable books were written. Among these works include the Uyghur scholar Yusuf Has Hajip’s book, The Knowledge for Happiness and Mahmud Kashgari’s dictionary of Turk languages.

The Islamic Uyghur Kingdom of East Turkestan maintained its independence and prosperity until the Manchu Empire invaded the nation in 1876.

After eight years of bloody war, the Manchu Empire formally annexed East Turkestan into its territories and renamed it “Xinjiang” (meaning “New Frontier”) on November 18, 1884.

After Chinese Nationalists overthrew the Manchu Empire in 1911, East Turkestan fell under the rule of the nationalist Chinese government.

The Uyghurs, who wanted to free themselves from foreign domination, staged numerous uprisings against Nationalist Chinese rule – once in 1933 and again in 1944. They eventually succeeded in setting up an independent East Turkestan Republic.

The Uyghur Muslims have little desire to assimilate into Han society due to their strong attachment to Islamic values and culture which are at odd against the atheistic, Chinese culture. Their reluctance to do so is met with reactions ranging from chauvinism to claims of ingratitude by the Han elite.

The Geopolitics of East Turkestan

The reason why the Chinese Government maintains a pervasive system of ethnic discrimination against the Uyghur Muslims, is because of the geopolitical importance of Xinjiang.

Xinjiang is one of China’s ethnic “autonomous” regions where China has critical strategic issues at stake. The province, like Tibet, is one of the vast buffer zones shielding the core of China from an invasion by foreign hordes.

Xinjiang also has long served as a key route for Chinese commerce via the Silk Road. Throughout Chinese history, various dynasties sought to maintain a grip over the cities linking China to Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

China defended these routes from the Mongols in the north, the Central Asians and even the Tibetans. These trade routes, were so useful in supplying China with anything it could not find or produce at home.

These Western land routes were so vibrant that there just wasn’t a pressing economic need for a major naval presence. But as China entered the modern era, the Silk Road routes faded as sea commerce became the dominant form of economic intercourse with the world.

From the foreign treaty ports to the booming coastal cities like Shanghai and Qingdao or manufacturing hubs in Guangdong, China now looks more and more to the seas for its economic lifelines.

But the U.S Domination over the seas leave China’s maritime trade routes vulnerable at a time when Beijing has grown more dependent upon these sea routes for vital commodities especially, energy and export markets. This had led Chinese strategists to look back to the old days, to the old Silk Road routes, as a way to preserve economic security.

Central Asia has vast energy resources, and the oil and natural gas doesn’t have to be loaded into tankers and shipped by sea. Instead, it is moved by pipeline in a steady flow to China’s booming coast. And the gateway to Central Asia is Xinjiang.

This reinforces Beijing’s perceived need to keep the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities under control. Beijing prevents these ethnic communities from attempting true autonomy or even secession, through a policy of internal migration.

During nearly six decades of annexation, China has pursued a policy of assimilation and changed the demographics of the region. China has moved the majority Han Chinese into these ethnic regions to dilute the population. These Han settlers are given economic incentives and dominate certain segments of the local economy and political machinery.

In 1950, the ethnic Han population accounted for only 5 percent of Xinjiang residents. That jumped to over 40 percent in 2009, including an influx to the Chinese paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. Compared to the Uighurs, there are now nearly as many Han, and in the capital Urumqi, Han outnumber Uighurs by nearly 3 to 1.

This reality has created its own tensions, as the Uighurs feel discriminated against in their own homeland. China has responded to this through the use of overwhelming force and political repression of the Uyghurs.

21st Century Concentration Camps

In recent years, there have been many reports of students, teachers, and civil servantshave been forbidden from fasting during Ramadan, forbidden from wearing their traditional dress and even keeping a beard.

As of 2017, the Uyghur language has been banned from schools and a religious crack-down has morphed into a total ban of Islam. In the last 12-18 months, China has put more than a million Uyghurs in re-education camps, where they are held without charge or any terms of release.

They have demolished thousands of mosques (almost 70 percent) in Kashgar city and confiscated religious books, including the Quran.

Beijing played the terrorism card against the Uyghurs by hijacking the 9/11 tragedy and conflating civil disobedience as terrorism.

The Uyghur homeland has become China’s springboard to Central Asia and beyond, and an obstacle to Chinese global expansion.

Uyghurs are seen as a barrier to Xi’s ambition. China requires the absolute silence of Uyghurs on their historic land to advance its plan. The current use of concentration campsas a tool of collective punishment of Uyghurs should be understood in this context.

With the rise of China as the expected superpower of the 21st century, such repressive policies against the Uyghur Muslims are likely to get worse. Muslims should play their role in supporting the Uyghur Muslims by raising their profile so that Muslims living in the West are aware of their situation.

To raise the profile of Uyghur Muslims to Western audiences, KJ Vids is currently running an awareness campaign.

Origins of the Korean conflict

BAKU – The demilitarized zone that runs across the Korean Peninsula seems like the outcome of the armed conflict that devastated the area in the 1950s. However, an in-depth examination of Korea’s modern history reveals how the peninsula was caught in a tug of war between regional and Western powers. Thereby, planting the seeds that would ultimately result in the division of the Korean nation into north and south.

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Soundtrack:
Dreams Become Real by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Masjid Al Aqsa Tour

In conjunction with the popular Instragam page “Picture Perfect Palestine” we bring you a tour of the beautiful Masjid Al-Aqsa in Palestine.

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The History of Uyghur Muslims

Uyghurs are predominately Turkic-speaking Sunni Muslims who live primarily in the autonomous region of Xinjiang.

Islam came to the region in the 10th century. Prior to Islam, the Uyghurs embraced Buddhism, Shamanism, and Manicheism.

Uyghurs embraced Islam in 934 during the Karahanid Kingdom. Kashgar, the capital of the Kingdom, quickly became one of the major learning centers of Islam.

Art, the sciences, music and literature flourished as Islamic religious institutions nurtured the pursuit of an advanced culture.

In this period, hundreds of world-renowned Uyghur scholars emerged. Thousands of valuable books were written.

Among these works include the Uyghur scholar Yusuf Has Hajip’s book, The Knowledge for Happiness and Mahmud Kashgari’s dictionary of Turk languages.

Uyghurs played an important role in cultural exchanges between the East and West and developed a unique culture and civilization of their own based on Islam.

The Islamic Uyghur Kingdom of East Turkestan maintained its independence and prosperity until the Manchu Empire invaded the nation in 1876.

After eight years of bloody war, the Manchu Empire formally annexed East Turkestan into its territories and renamed it “Xinjiang” (meaning “New Frontier”) on November 18, 1884.

Xinjiang is roughly the size of Iran and borders several Muslim-majority countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

After Chinese Nationalists overthrew the Manchu Empire in 1911, East Turkestan fell under the rule of the nationalist Chinese government.

The Uyghurs, who wanted to free themselves from foreign domination, staged numerous uprisings against Nationalist Chinese rule and twice (once in 1933 and again in 1944) succeeded in setting up an independent East Turkestan Republic.

The Uyghur Muslims have little desire to assimilate into Han society due to their strong attachment to their cultural practises of Islam.

Their reluctance to do so is met with reactions ranging from chauvinism to claims of ingratitude by the Han elite.

For over a decade, under the guise of counterterrorism and ‘anti-separatism’ efforts, the government maintains a pervasive system of ethnic discrimination against Uighurs Muslims and sharply curbs their Islamic practises and expression.

China is accused of encouraging internal migration into the Xinjiang province to increase the non-Uyghur population and power in the region.

The overall effect of the Communist Party of China’s policies in the last six decades is unmistakable and stunning.

The Han population in the region increased at an average rate of 8.1 per cent yearly, from 5 per cent in 1947 to around 40 per cent in 2000.

Officially the 2010 Census puts the Xinjiang population at 45.8 per cent Uyghur and 40.5 per cent Han, with Kazakh, Hui, and other ethnicities making up the rest.

In recent years, there have been many reports of students, teachers, and civil servants have been forbidden from fasting during Ramadan, forbidden from wearing their traditional dress and even keeping a beard.

Uyghurs continue to be the only population in China consistently subjected to executions for political crimes, and these executions are often both summary and public.

With the rise of China as the expected superpower of the 21st century, such repressive policies against the Uyghur Muslims are likely to get worse.

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Eid Around the World

A video showing Muslims celebrating Eid from all over the world. Muslims are the fastest growing religion. By 2030, Muslims are expected to make up 8% of Europe’s population including an estimated 19 million in the EU (3.8%), including 13 million foreign-born Muslim immigrants. Islam is widely considered as the fastest growing religion in Europe due primarily to immigration and above average birth rates. Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2015 and 2060 and, in the second half of this century.

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Eid around the world

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Meet ZHENG HE – The Greatest CHINESE MUSLIM Explorer

When people think of great explorers, they think of the usual names: Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Evliya Çelebi, Christopher Columbus, etc.

But not many know of Zheng He. The Muslim who became China’s greatest admiral, explorer, and diplomat. In China, he is well known, although not always recognized or glorified.

Zheng was born in 1371 in the southern China region of Yunnan to a Muslim Chinese ethnic family and named Ma He.

In China, the family name is said first, followed by the given name. “Ma” is known in China as short for “Muhammad”, indicating Zheng Muslim heritage.

At a young age, his town was raided by the Ming Dynasty’s army. He was captured and transported to the capital, Nanjing, where he served in the imperial household.

Despite the oppressive and difficult circumstances he was in, Zheng actually befriended one of the princes, Zhu Di, and rose to the highest positions in government. He was given the honorific title “Zheng” and was known as Zheng He.

In 1405, when emperor Zhu Di decided to send out a giant fleet of ships to explore and trade with the rest of the world, he chose Zheng to lead the expedition.

This expedition was massive. In all, almost 30,000 sailors were in each voyage, with Zheng He commanding all of them.

Between 1405 and 1433, Zheng He led 7 expeditions that sailed to present day Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya, and many other countries.

It is probable that during one of his journeys, Zheng He was even able to go to Makkah to complete the Hajj.

Zheng was not the only Muslim on these expeditions. Many of his advisors and were also Chinese Muslims, such as Ma Huan, a translator who spoke Arabic and was able to converse with the Muslim peoples they encountered on their journeys.

He wrote an account of his journeys, titled the , which is an important source today for understanding 15th century societies around the Indian Ocean.

The ships Zheng commanded were up to 400 feet long, many times the size of Columbus’s ships that sailed across the Atlantic.

Zheng would sail back to China with exotic goods such as ivory, camels, gold, and even a giraffe from Africa. The expeditions sent one message to the world: China is an economic and political superpower.

Economics and politics were not the only effects of this great fleet that was commanded by Zheng. He and his Muslim advisors regularly promoted Islam wherever they travelled.

In the Indonesian islands of Java, Sumatra, Borneo and others, Zheng found small communities of Muslims already there.

Islam had started to spread in Southeast Asia a few hundred years before through trade from Arabia and India. Zheng actively supported the continued growth of Islam in these areas.

Zheng established Chinese Muslim communities in Palembang, and along Java, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines.

These communities preached Islam to the local people and were very important to the spread of Islam in the area.

The fleet built masjids and provided other social services the local Muslim community would need.

Even after the death of Zheng in 1433, other Chinese Muslims continued his work in Southeast Asia, spreading Islam.

Chinese Muslim traders in Southeast Asia were encouraged to intermarry and assimilate with the local people on the islands and Malay Peninsula.

This brought more people to Islam in Southeast Asia, as well as strengthened and diversified the growing Muslim community.

As an admiral, diplomat, soldier, and trader, Zheng He is a giant of Chinese and Muslim history. He is seen as one of the greatest figured in the spread of Islam in Southeast Asia.

Unfortunately, after his death, the Chinese government changed its philosophy to a more Confucian one which did not support such expeditions like Zheng He’s.

As a result, his accomplishments and contributions were mostly forgotten or overlooked for hundreds of years in China.

His legacy in Southeast Asia, however is quite different. Numerous Mosques in the region are named after him to commemorate his contributions.

Islam spread in Southeast Asia through many forms, including trade, travelling preachers, and immigration.

Admiral Zheng He was also a major part of its spread in that region.

Today, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any nation in the world, and much of that could be attributed to the activities of Zheng He in the region.

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Meet Zheng He – The Greatest Chinese Muslim Explorer

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Uyghurs: Victims of 21st Century Concentration Camps

China has put more than a million Uyghurs in concentration camps, where they are held without charge or any terms of release.

This has been going on for over a year now, since the arrival of new Communist Party boss of the region, Chen Quanguo, in 2016.

Uyghurs are Turkic people and the main inhabitant of the region, their ancestral homeland for millennia.

China entered the region known as East Turkistan in 1949 and declared the regionof “Xinjiang” on October 1, 1955.

During nearly six decades of annexation, China has pursued a policy of assimilation and changed the demographics of the region.

In 1950, the ethnic Han population accounted for only 5 percent of Xinjiang residents.

That jumped to over 40 percent in 2009, including an influx to the
Chinese paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

As of 2017, the Uyghur language has been banned from schools and a religious crack-down has morphed into a total ban of Islam.

They have demolished thousands of mosques (almost 70 percent) in Kashgar city and confiscated religious books, including the Quran.

Beijing played the terrorism card against the Uyghurs by hijacking the 9/11 tragedy and conflating civil disobedience as terrorism.

The Uyghur homeland has become China’s springboard to Central Asia and beyond,and an obstacle to Chinese global expansion.

Uyghurs are seen as a barrier to Xi’s ambition. China requires the absolute silence of Uyghurs on their historic land to advance its plan.

The current use of concentration camps as a tool of collective punishment of Uyghurs should be understood in this context.

Recent research has revealed that China is accelerating its drive to build more camps in the region to accommodate more Uyghurs.

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The Geopolitics of Xinjiang

Xinjiang is one of China’s ethnic “autonomous” regions where China has critical strategic issues at stake.

The province, like Tibet, is one of the vast buffer zones shielding the core of China from an invasion by foreign hordes.

Xinjiang also has long served as a key route for Chinese commerce via the Silk Road.

Throughout Chinese history, various dynasties sought to maintain a grip over the cities linking China to Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

China defended these routes from the Mongols in the north, the
Central Asians and even the Tibetans.

These trade routes, were so useful in supplying China with anything it could not find or produce at home.

These Western land routes were so vibrant that there just wasn’t a pressing economic need for a major naval presence.

But as China entered the modern era, the Silk Road routes faded as sea commerce became the dominant form of economic intercourse with the world.

From the foreign treaty ports to the booming coastal cities like Shanghai and Qingdao or manufacturing hubs in Guangdong, China now looks more and more to the seas for its economic lifelines.

But this is exposed China’s weakness: The seas are vast, and U.S. forces patrol them. China’s maritime trade routes are vulnerable.

Beijing has grown more dependent upon these sea routes for vital commodities especially, energy and export markets.

This had led Chinese strategists to look back to the old days, to the old Silk Road routes, as a way to preserve economic security.

Central Asia has vast energy resources, and the oil and natural gas doesn’t have to be loaded into tankers and shipped by sea.

Instead, it is moved by pipeline in a steady flow to China’s booming coast. And the gateway to Central Asia is Xinjiang.

This reinforces Beijing’s perceived need to keep the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities under control.

Beijing prevents these ethnic communities from attempting true autonomy or even secession, through a policy of internal migration.

China has moved the majority Han Chinese into these ethnic regions to dilute the population — an old tactic seen before.

These Han settlers are given economic incentives and dominate certain segments of the local economy and political machinery.

In addition, they begin to change the ethnic balance of the region over time. In Xinjiang Han Chinese now make up some 40% of the total population.

Compared to the Uighurs, there are now nearly as many Han, and in the capital Urumqi, Han outnumber Uighurs by nearly 3 to 1.

This reality has created its own tensions, as the Uighurs feel discriminated against in their own homeland.

China has responded to this through the use of overwhelming force and political repression of the Uyghurs.

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Exclusive – Uyghur eye-witness testimonies submitted to KJ Vids

KJ Vids is currently raising an awareness campaign to raise awareness of the horrific crimes being committed against the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang, China.

The following victim testimonies have been submitted to KJ Vids

Testimony 1

“Thanks for this platform to raise our Uyghur voice. Growing up as an Uyghur Muslim, I was not allowed to go to mosque and learn Quran. Even having a “Quran” app or a “religious pic” could get people in jail (Yes! Police check your phone). Last two years, the situation got much much worse, beyond anyone’s expectations. My father in one of the victims in the so-called “re-education” camps now, where over a million people are detained for being abroad (people that went abroad legally with Chinese passports. no matter how long ago), being religious (people who pray, have beard or have intention of going to hajj) or being young (people born in 80’s or 90’s). It has been almost a year that I have not talked to him. My mom is the only person I can talk to, for which I am very thankful because I know many individuals abroad that have no contact whatsoever. I cannot say anything more than greeting via a phone call since even saying “Assalamu Alaykum” could get her in trouble. Other relatives and friends will not pick up a call from overseas, for which they can be detained. For their safety, many of my friends and relatives also removed me from Wechat, the most common social media since Google, Facebook, Twitter and Whats app, etc are banned in China.

On the other hand, I am studying in the US, in a nation with much more freedom but with a lot of pressure. I am constantly checking news about Uyghurs every single day and praying for God’s help. Suffer of millions of Uyghurs keeps me awake at night. Last time I went back was in 2016 summer, but never thought that could be the very last time. At this point, I know I cannot go back anymore, but I do not know what to do after college graduation. Many people told me to stay as an asylee, but Uyghur students, including me, are asked for graduation time by the police back home and many students are called to come back home. Students who went back were detained in the camps or disappeared. Many folks do not believe what Uyghurs are going through because they think China is a great country that respects religious freedom. That is exactly what China wants to portray itself. The oppression is not just for Muslims, but also for Buddhists in Tibet and Christians all over China.
Keep my post anonymous please. I do not want any of my relatives to be detained because of me.
#SaveUyghurs

Testimony 2

Chinese government detained my parents last year without any reason. I have lost connection with all of my relatives and friends, if I contact them, the government will arrest them only because they have foreign contact. It’s been a year I don’t know where my parents are and how they are doing. I only know they are suffering in a concentration. Also, I know two of my friends are disappeared since 2017 April. They studied their college in Turkey and Egypt respectively, with the permission of the government. When I was back home, I was forced to eat food during Ramadan, banned to go to the mosque. I was banned speak my Uyghur and read books written in Uyghur language during my junior school. **Please keep my name anonymous if possible, otherwise, they will arrest my other family members.**

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