The Chinese government has launched a defamatory and libellous campaign to discredit the Global Imams Council (GIC) and to character assassinate whoever advocates for the freedom of the Uyghur people, the GIC has said.
“We are China’s latest victims. We consider these false allegations, manipulations, and accusations a provocation by the Chinese government,” the GIC said.
“Through our Imams, which exceed 1,300 members, we oversee the affairs of over 800 centres, mosques and organisations globally. We will not be intimidated, and we shall multiply our efforts by ensuring that the most leading Grand Ayatollahs, Muftis and Islamic Authorities in the Muslim world, Sunni and Shia, issue independent statements against the Chinese government’s violations of human rights,” the body said.
On January 28, Chinese state media Global Times published an article titled “NGO of Muslims fooled by anti-China WUC to call for ‘boycott’ of Beijing Games”, containing lies and fabrications with the sole intention of distracting the public from its violations of human rights, and to defame this Council, the GIC said.
This statement is not a response to Global Times, as their agenda, ownership and history of justifying injustice are clear, it said.
Instead, these clarifications are for the vulnerable readers they may have deceived, the GIC statement said.
The first claim was that the Global Imams Council was “fooled” by the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) to ban Muslim participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
“This is a lie, as we have an active Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the WUC, and we share the concerns of the Uyghur people that the Chinese government is persecuting. The statement was our initiative and was not requested by the WUC,” it said.
The second claim was that the Muslim leaders carbon copied onto our statement had opposed our statement.
“This is also a lie. Chinese Embassies threatened and pressured two of the mentioned Muftis to deny signing the statement, despite the fact that a ‘CC’ does not mean ‘signature’. We then clarified this matter and personally contacted those Islamic authorities. Furthermore, we issued a separate statement assuring Muslims that we supported sporting activities but were only opposed to an event that served the interests of the Chinese government,” the statement said.
The third claim was that the President of the Global Imams Council, Imam al-Budairi, was interviewed by a journalist in Iraq where he had supposedly stated that the World Uyghur Congress funds this Council.
This is another lie because not only was the name of the interviewer not disclosed, the President of this Council was never actually interviewed on this matter, nor did he meet with a journalist, the GIC statement said.