Uyghur Women: Stories of Love, Loss and Strength
Read real stories from Uyghur refugee women living in Turkey
In China’s Xinjiang province, a cultural genocide is taking place. Women are unable to wear hijabs, men have been banned from growing long beards and children are being denied Islamic education.
Mosques have been demolished and copies of the Qur’an and prayer matts have been confiscated. Neighbours are encouraged to spy on each other and report any “extremist behaviour” to authorities. Over 2 million Uyghur Muslims are currently locked away in “re-education camps”, where there have been first-hand accounts of violent torture, rape, illegal medical testing, organ harvesting and the forced consumption of pork and alcohol.
Thankfully, some Uyghurs have been able to flee the brutality, with roughly 67,000 of them seeking asylum in Turkey. Turkey is home to the world’s largest refugee population, and is unable to provide proper support for the vulnerable people that seek refuge in their country. Uyghur refugees that have fled China are now in desperate need of support, so that they can begin to heal and piece their lives back together again.
Penny Appeal are working with our partners on the ground in Turkey to provide emergency aid to hundreds of Uyghurs in need through our Uyghur Emergency appeal. We’re delivering essential food packs and warm winter clothing to families in Istanbul, Kayseri and Eskişehir to help them start their new lives in Turkey. Read on to discover the stories of two brave Uyghur women, and to find out what you can do to help.
Just £30 could provide an Uyghur child with winter clothing, while a donation of £50 could feed a family for an entire month. For those who have fled the oppression in Xinjiang, even a simple donation has become a true blessing.
A Mother’s Worry
In Istanbul, we spoke with a young woman who recently migrated to Turkey with her 5 young children because of the strict anti-Islamic regulations being laid down in China. Her family was no longer able to practice their faith in Xinjiang, so they fled in fear for their lives.
She told us of the hardships her family has gone through and the fear that she still deals with today.
“My husband was an Imam who has now been imprisoned and I’ve had family who have visited me who were later imprisoned when they returned to China for visiting me here in Istanbul.
I have a sister who has been imprisoned in China who has cancer. My sister’s home was taken over by Chinese people in a similar way that Israeli settlers do in Palestine. My sister’s daughter, who is no older than 10 years old, has also been sent to a concentration camp so that they can "re-educate" them both to forget their Islamic teachings.
I have not heard from my family for over a year and I don’t know whether they are in prison, in concentration camps or dead.”
Many Uyghur refugees share similar stories from their homeland, and harbour the same worries for their families back in China and for their futures in Turkey. You can stand with these Uyghur Muslims and help ease their burden by donating to our Uyghur Emergency today, and supplying these families with vital supplies.
One Terrible Facebook Video
Another woman we met in a Uyghur refugee camp opened up about the persecution her family has faced in Xinjiang. She has had to leave her family in China and now lives in uncertainty. Are they ok? Will she see them again? Are they still alive?
She shared her story with a heavy heart,
“I fled persecution in China and arrived in Turkey. I managed to escape with two of my youngest children.
The pictures you see in front of me are my husband and five other children. My husband has been imprisoned and my children are all in the concentration camps.
I only found out that my five other children were in the concentration camps through a Facebook video… I don’t know whether my family back in China is still alive.”
These women have been through more than any person should ever have to go through. The injustices they’ve faced and the cruelty that has been thrust upon their families is appalling, and all just because they are Muslim. The “extremist behaviours” that have brought on such iron-fisted oppression are nothing more than simple expressions of faith; innocent, yet so harshly punished.
Refugees are starting their lives anew in Turkey and with your help, we can make sure they no longer have to struggle. A simple donation to our Uyghur Emergency appeal could make all the difference to these poor, fraught families, providing them with vital food packs and supplies.
Stand with our Uyghur brothers and sisters and make a donation today to save lives.
WEDNESDAY 12 FEB 2020