Indonesian Muslims defend the Uyghurs before the Chinese embassy

Indonesian Muslims defend the Uyghurs before the Chinese embassy

More than a thousand Indonesians demonstrated today in front of the Chinese embassy in Jakarta to demand the rights of the Uighur Muslim minority, who suffer persecution in their own country.

Attendees carried placards with flashlights such as "Stop the genocide" and demanded the expulsion of the Chinese ambassador to Indonesia during a peaceful ceremony held after the traditional Muslim prayer on Fridays.

"They do not give Muslims permission to wear the hijab or practice their religion, we are in a new era, people should respect each other, respect religion," said Arul, one of the moderate protesters.

The protest was called by Islamist groups such as the Defenders of Islam Front (FPI) that in recent years have capitalized on the Muslim movements together with the opposition of the current Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, with the aim of gaining influence.

Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim community in the world, will hold presidential elections on April 17 next.

Many of the protesters made anti-Communist chants and photographed themselves with their thumbs and indexes in reference to the number on the ballot of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who faces Joko Widodo in the elections.

"We can not accept that the president is silent while Muslims are repressed by the Chinese communists," said another of the attendees, Abu Ridhu Ridwan.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Jakarta defended Thursday that there was freedom of religion in his country.

China justified for the first time in October at the UN the camps established in Xinjiang, where the majority of those admitted are Uighurs, as educational centers to combat terrorism and underdevelopment.

Organizations such as Amnesty International have reported abuses, torture and deaths in these facilities.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and the first in number of Muslims, representing about 88 percent of the population of 265 million Indonesians.


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