Today marks the International Day of Peace; created by the United Nations (UN) for “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.”
It’s a lovely idea having a day to celebrate peace and as Muslims we should always strive for peace. The foundations of our religion are based upon peace and love, and this is made clear in the Quran and Hadiths:
“Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.”
[The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as recorded in Muslim & Bukhari]
Yes, Islam encourages peace, but how can we celebrate an International Day of Peace when there is so much injustice and strife going on in the world?
Just one example that comes to mind is the ethnic cleansing of the Uighur Muslims. Ethnic cleansing is defined as the forced removal of ethnic/religious groups, by a more powerful ethnic/religious group. This is taking place by the Chinese Government, who are forcing the Uighur Muslims into camps where they are essentially being brainwashed to follow the Chinese Communist Parties values, forced to eat Pork, and not allowed to practice their own religion. There have also been reports of torture from people who have left the camps.
I remember when I first heard about this, I thought it couldn’t be true, the World surely wouldn't allow another camp where ethnic cleansing could take place. Camps are something I could only associate with WW2 and the Nazis, but as more and more reports come out from sources such as The independent, and The Guardian, it is shockingly clear that this is happening and nothing is being done about it.
Although it seems impossible, there are always ways we can try and help, here are just a few:
These stories are so under reported in the media, and so many people are unaware of the things that are going on. It is so important that we use our voice and share this with others, even if it’s resharing a post on your Instagram story, retweeting something on twitter, or simply telling a friend about what’s going on.
It is so important to get the conversation started, and inform as many people as possible, as the more this is spoken about, the more attention it receives, and the higher the chance there is that we can actually make a change.
There are many petitions you could sign to help raise awareness and make changes, here are just a few, with the last one preventing the 2022 Olympics from taking place in China:
Make sure you search these issues for yourself and really understand them, as then it's easier for you to help educate others.
Some resources you could watch to understand what’s going on:
Unfortunately we cannot donate to help those affected directly in China, however we can help the Uyghur Muslims that have escaped and sought refuge in Turkey, and other neighbouring countries. Here are some links to donate:
Never underestimate the power of prayer and Dua, If you are unable to do anything else, you can always pray for those facing injustice and oppression.
Of course this blog only covers one case of where there is injustice in the world, there are so many more we could mention, but this is a start.