Every four years, the world comes together for the Olympics. We set aside our differences of race, religion, and nationality and are, for a brief moment, just citizens of the world. The event itself says it promotes "peace, friendship and understanding in the world." Now, top Muslim group, Emgage, is saying the location of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing, China, violates the ideals of the Olympics.
Emgage works to increase Muslim American involvement in politics. They held the first Muslim-American presidential forum, and released a report showing a 25% increase in Muslim voters in swing states from 2014 to 2015. Now, they want the U.S. Olympic National Committee to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, saying that the Chinese government has been persecuting Uighur Muslims (ethnically Turkic Muslims).
In the western province of Xinjiang, over ONE million Uighurs have been incarcerated, while the rest are forced to assimilate as an attempt to remove them FROM their religion. Over half of Xinjiang's population of 25 million are predominantly Muslim ethnic minority groups, the largest of which is the Uighurs.
The Chinese government says the internment camps are job-education centers, and are attempting to curb extremism. The New York Times recently detailed the "coercive nature" of the internment camps. The expose also found "plans to extend restrictions on Islam to other parts of China."
"The Olympic Games are a showcase of what is best of humanity and a celebration of our differences," Emgage CEO Wa'el Alzayat told the Huffington Post. "The mass incarceration of Muslim minorities in China and the intentional attempt to erase their identity are anathema to the Olympic spirit."
"We cannot as Americans participate in good conscience in these Games as long as these concentration camps are operational," Alzayat continued.
The Olympics don't have a great track record when it comes to human rights. In 2016, the Summer Olympics was linked to human rights violations in Rio. A report found that 4,120 people lost their homes to make way for Olympic infrastructure. Police violence and bad labor conditions were among the human rights violations also listed in the report.
Since then, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has put in a reference to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in its Host City Contract. However, it won't apply until the 2024 Summer Olympics. Hopefully, the Olympics will finally be able to get a gold medal when it comes to human rights.
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