KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Rawa’s office is disputing an article portraying him as saying reports on China’s policies against Muslims in Xinjiang could be false.
In a statement today, his office challenged the Free Malaysia Today article titled “In Beijing speech, Mujahid speaks of 'false news' on Xinjiang” published on June 28 that was based on Mujahid’s speech, calling it confusing, inaccurate and taken out of context.
“In the minister’s speech, he did not say the word Xinjiang or the ethnic Uyghur. The word ‘false news’ was used to paint the scenario where false news could adversely affect the relationship between countries and the people.
“The Muslim community in China does not consist only of Uighurs but come from other ethnicities as well such as the Hui, Kazakh, Uzbeks and Tajik. Therefore, the FMT report is very inaccurate and irresponsible,” the statement said.
The portal reported that Mujahid was referring to Xinjiang when he said false news about Muslims in China being oppressed could trigger a wave of sympathy to the oppressed and affect relationships, making comparison to claims of Hindus in Malaysia being mistreated that which could trigger hatred towards the Muslim minority in India.
The report came after another controversy when he referred to an Uighur detention or “re-education” camp as a “training and vocational institution”.
Rights groups and advocates have described these as concentration camps based on the testimony of former inmates.
The department said that Mujahid had visited China between June 23 and 30 to strengthen diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China by exchanging opinions and information on issues regarding peace, religion and socio economics, and not just to visit the ethnic Uighurs.
Among others, Mujahid met with United Front Work Department deputy minister HE Wang Zuoan, where he spoke of opportunities to expand on the halal industry in Malaysia, issues on handling the haj pilgrimage and imams in China.
“The minister spoke about how Malaysia could help the imams better play their role in China,” said the statement, explaining that China has around 20 million Muslims from all ethnicities, around 30,000 mosques and tens of thousands of imams.
Mujahid was accompanied by the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) director general as well as officers from the Foreign Ministry for guidance and advice.
“While he was in China, the minister did not act against any guidelines given,” said the statement.
“He had in his meetings, emphasised on the freedom of religion and respecting the individual’s rights to worship. This is the first time a minister from Malaysia has spoken about religious issues to a China representative, and the feedback has been very positive,” it added.
In his speech at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, Muhajid had spoke on basic human rights regardless of race or religion and how inter religious dialogue helped to solve some issues, adding that Malaysia rejected any kind of violence or discrimination.