This Ramadan, human rights groups and Muslim organizations are urging US Muslims to boycott products made in China, where authorities have for years cracked down on Muslims fasting.
“People say, ‘Oh, I can’t boycott China, everything is made in China,’” said Hena Zuberi, director of outreach for the non-profit Justice for All, who helped found the ‘Fast From China’ campaign this month.
Launched April 19 by the Sound Vision Foundation’s Save Uighur project, the Fast From China initiative aims to get Muslims to rethink their everyday purchasing decisions and replace items bearing a “Made in China” label with products made in other countries.
By setting the stage for more long-term campaigns, Zuberi said, they hope to change both Muslim consumers’ minds and American businesses’ relationship with Chinese manufacturing.
“It’s important for Americans to realize that they benefit from the open market, but they’re not opening their minds towards freedom of religion, human rights and due process of law,” said Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, head of the Sound Vision Foundation.
Al-Furqaan Foundation, a Chicago non-profit that is one of the largest Western publishers of the Quran, publicly pledged to stop using Chinese facilities to print its products.
For at least three years, the Chinese government has forced members of the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang province to skip the obligatory fasting and other religious rituals that mark Islam’s holy month. Reports from Xianjang suggest authorities have forbidden restaurants from closing during the month and banned workers, students and women from fasting and praying. Officials often send out invitations to events with food and drink, and those who do not attend and eat are regarded with suspicion.
In the indoctrination camps, other reports say, Muslim detainees have been forced to eat pork and drink alcohol.
“When we speak to Uighurs here they tell us they feel Muslims around the world have abandoned them,” Zuberi said. “People are afraid to speak up because of the economic consequences.”
While leaders of Muslim-majority nations have largely been silent on the Uighur persecution, the Fast From China campaign has caught on with US Muslims.
Zuberi compared it to the way that boycotting Israel-made products to protest the treatment of Palestinian people has become mainstream among many US Muslim consumers.
“I won’t purchase something that’s made in Israel because inside, I feel sickened to my stomach,” Zuberi said. “It’s embedded in my mind. We want to put it into Muslims’ consciousness that buying products made in China is contributing to the oppression of our brothers and sisters who have not been able to fast for years, and especially now many are in concentration camps where they’re being force-fed haram food.”
Darul Ihsan Media Desk