Op-Ed: Genocide in Xinjiang?: The Complexities of the U.S. State Department’s Declaration

An organized demonstration protesting the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in San Francisco, CA.

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

By Gabriella Clinton
Staff Writer

Last week, the U.S. State Department, under the guidance of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, officially accused the Chinese government of committing genocide and other crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims and other religious and ethnic minority groups living in the Xinjiang region. This statement was released on the last full day of the Trump Administration—Tuesday, January 19th. The Chinese government has since denied the accusations; however, it is estimated that as many as 2 million Uyghur Muslims, as well as members of other minority Muslim groups, have been detained in internment camps located throughout the country’s northwestern region. This abuse of human rights and endorsement of ethnic cleansing by the government has occurred  for several decades, but drastically intensified around March 2017.

Continue reading “Op-Ed: Genocide in Xinjiang?: The Complexities of the U.S. State Department’s Declaration”


By Aisha Subhan
Contributing Writer

*This essay was originally published in The Huffington Post and can be viewed here. If you would like to submit a piece to us, then please email us. 

I, an American Muslim woman am devastated, heartbroken. This ban says to me that my country does not see all lives and human worth as equal. This ban says to me that our nation has developed a cold, wicked heart. This ban says to me that we blame Muslims, that they are the problem that we do not want them here, and we have no concern for where they end up dead or alive.

It didn’t take long for the ban to evoke such feelings, nor to estrange family members from each other, nor to take away someone’s basic desire to live.

Amid these grave injustices and a disheartening reality, I anticipate that the Muslim ban will deprive us Americans of something beautiful. Here, I wish to speak about the beauty of Islam and its followers through my own eyes both here and abroad.

I was born here in Chicago, Illinois and I have my birth certificate readily available for those who wish to get their hands on it. During my life here in America, I have cherished the Islamic values my grandparents brought with them from India to Pakistan and then to the US.

My grandmother has lived her life believing she could cure and mend the world. She is always giving, always on her feet, always leaving her heart open to others. On any given holiday, Muslim or national-American, my grandparent’s home in Southern California becomes an open house for family and friends without holiday plans. Effortlessly, my grandmother’s residence becomes a place all can call home.

Visiting my grandparent’s home, a few themes consume me and enrich my life with each visit. My grandfather’s passion for Urdu and Persian poetry that explore the love of God reflects the heart of the Muslim faith. My grandmother’s attentiveness and tenderness towards her guava and orange trees or her garden that grows mint and curry leaves find their roots in Islamic values. To love God is to love all his creation. It is to perceive one’s own consciousness in equal relation to the nature and reflections of paradise that surround them.

My love for both Islam and the Middle East has sent me across borders and into places like Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan. During my travels, I unearthed similar Islamic values but in a different setting.

While admiring an Arabic/Quranic calligraphy book, I imagined the artful strokes of the words raheem and rahman, mercy and compassion, coming alive within the Lebanese-Muslim home I enjoyed on an Eid morning. Muslims everywhere recite the words raheem and rahman, attributes among Allah’s 99 Divine Names, countless times a day. Like the other divine attributes, Muslims are guided to assume these traits on earth in their full human capacity. Mercy and compassion and forgiveness and generosity—these guiding principles profuse throughout the Muslim home.

In Palestine, the emphasis on the family and the way in which Palestinians live is nothing short of beautiful. During my time in Palestine, my host family extended to me the most gracious hospitality. I had never felt so taken care of. During my plane ride home I recall draping the airline blanket over my head, not to concoct some terrorist plot, but because I began shedding tears as my heart recollected all the care and compassion I received in Palestine.

For my trip in Jordan, I travelled with a bag full of Lego donations for Syrian refugees. As these refugee children played with Legos for the very first time, they seized the opportunity to the fullest. Their creative and innovative minds quickly took hold. The children assembled an array of creations on their own yet constantly appreciated the Legos now in their possession. Though deprived, these children still worked to present something beautiful and of their very own. I felt the warmness in their hearts, their eager minds, and their dreams waiting to become known.

In all of these encounters I sensed Islam’s essence and recalled Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s The Heart of Islam. Along with the words mercy and compassion, I perceived the Arabic word husn meaning both goodness and beauty. It is said that Allah loves beauty. In turn, beauty and love share in God’s relationship with creation. Of the most beautiful created things is the human soul. Islamically speaking, the human soul comprises of ihsan meaning virtue, goodness, and beauty. For human souls to fulfill beauty at its greatest height, is to please the One who loves beauty, to love his creation and to love Him, to open one’s heart to the compassion and mercy of the Divine, and to embody compassion and beauty in one’s own heart. And it is this beauty that contains the goodness and love necessary for peace and harmony on earth, in the cosmos, and in one’s center. It is precisely this beauty that I have felt and cherished within my experiences with the Muslim people both here and abroad and it is precisely this beauty that we will be deprived of.

Despite the challenges in our midst, I am honored and grateful for the beauty and love fellow Americans have extended to Muslims in recent months. Because human souls profess the upmost beauty, we must come together to protect them all.

Photo by Aisha Subhan 



By Larry Silverton*
Staff Writer

This Week in Trump’s America

This is the second installment of a new weekly feature which will provide a brief summary of the week’s most prominent actions by the Trump Administration, as well as discussing some of their implications. The discussion of each topic will be relatively brief by necessity; please contact us if you feel we have neglected a significant action by the Administration or an important aspect of any issue.

  1. Cabinet Confirmations

This week, the Senate confirmed several of Trump’s Cabinet nominations – billionaire and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Georgia Representative Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services; with a few exceptions, voting occurred strictly along party lines. All three have raised widespread concerns and criticism. Many harbor uncertainty about DeVos’ performance of her duties as secretary due to her unsuccessful policies, potential conflicts of interest, and seeming unawareness of important topics in education. Detractors of Sessions cite longtime accusations of racism and his climate change denialism, casting doubt on his presentation as a champion of civil rights during the confirmation hearings. Most criticisms of Tom Price center on possible ties between his legislative agenda and personal financial gain, as well as his longtime opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

  1. Immigration Ban Update

Opponents of Trump’s immigration ban scored a victory this week as the Court of Appeals upheld Judge James Robart’s order blocking enforcement of the ban. In response to the Justice Department’s failed appeal, Trump tweeted that he would “SEE [them] IN COURT”, suggesting an intent to appeal the case to the Supreme Court echoed by Chief of Staff Reince Preibus , though sources conflict on this subject. However, Trump also said that he may issue a “brand new order” early next week, perhaps revising its wording to improve its legality.

  1. Diplomacy – Australia

Trump took part in several notable diplomatic exchanges this week; the first occurred with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Despite early positive signs, relations with Prime Minister Turnbull appeared to sour last Saturday when the latter urged Trump to honor a previous US commitment to take 1,250 refugees currently in an Australian detention center. Senior US officials say that Trump “blasted” Prime Minister Turnbull in response, bragged about the margin by which he won the Electoral College vote; Trump then hung up on Prime Minister Turnbull without warning only 25 minutes into a planned hour-long conversation, claim the sources. In the following days, the two made contradictory statements about the call to the public, with Turnbull claiming that the US would honor the agreement while Trump called it “the worst deal ever”.

  1. Diplomacy – China

Xi Jinping pressured Trump into an important political concession on Thursday, in the first phone call between the two. During the call, Trump agreed to honor the “One China” policy, which acknowledges that only one China exists and that Taiwan, which officially refers to itself as the “Republic of China”, is part of that single entity. Before the call, Trump had raised doubts as to whether he would support the One China policy in taking a call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. President Obama also previously voiced commitment to the One China policy.

  1. Diplomacy – Japan

Relations with Japan appear smooth so far for Trump. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s weekend visit began with a congenial press conference on Friday, in which Prime Minister Abe pledged to support Trump in addressing US unemployment. Trump emphasized the US commitment to defending Japan; this seems to contradict his campaign promise to force Japan to pay more for US military aid. The only notable bump appears to be a particularly awkward handshake between the two, who will spend the weekend with their wives at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

  1. The Russian Connection

Concerns about possible connections between Trump and the government of Vladimir Putin resurfaced this week as US investigators confirmed some details from the “Russia dossier”, a 35-page document gathered by a former MI6 agent. The dossier alleges that Russia possesses compromising information about Trump (specifically a video of Trump taking part in embarrassing sexual acts) and that Trump and his team maintained contact with Russian operatives before and during the 2016 election. As of this writing, the full text of the dossier is available here. On a related note, recent leaks revealed that before Trump took office, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn may have warned Russia of pending sanctions by President Obama and discussed potentially lifting those sanctions. These leaks could indicate violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on important policy issues. Overall, recent developments suggest that controversy about the alleged link between Trump and Putin may continue to plague the early days of the new administration.

*Because of the sensitivity of some of the topics discussed here and the reaction of the Trump administration towards the media, some writers have opted to use pen names when writing about the Trump Presidency. Likewise, some of our staff writers at Prospect Journal of International Affairs will be using pen names when discussing the Trump government.

Image by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff