China

CHINESE UYGHUR MUSLIMS HOUNDED IN EGYPT

Since beginning of July , scores of Chinese students from Al-Azhar University, Cairo – all of them Uyghurs from China’s northwest Xinjiang province – have been arrested by the Egyptian police. Those who managed to escape the raids are hiding in the capital or trying to leave the country, according to Sweden Uyghur Education Union President Nijat Turghun. All are afraid of being expelled to China, where they will be at risk of arbitrary detentions and torture.
“Many of their families in Xinjiang were visited by Chinese authorities a few weeks ago. There were pressures; veiled threats were made to force them to come home and then the Egyptian police started raiding restaurants and residences of Uyghurs studying at Al-Azhar. Some have managed to escape, but we expect most to be deported,” said Ma, a 28-year-old Chinese Muslim from Linxia, in the province of Gansu. All are afraid of being expelled to China, where they will be at risk of arbitrary detentions and torture.
Al-Azhar University has seen a growing influx of Chinese students over the recent years. As religious restrictions are increasing in China, several Chinese Muslims have found Cairo a place where they could engage in religious practices in a relatively friendly environment. But with China’s economic resurgence – the country is now one of Egypt’s largest economic partners – Egyptians find themselves increasingly torn between their desire to remain faithful to their religion, and their willingness to secure their share of China’s economic progress.

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