Long Island Advocates Warn of Muslim Genocide Occurring in Asia

Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh in 2017 is inhabited mostly by Rohingya refugees. (Photo by John Owens-VOA)

Despite vows to never again allow the atrocities of the Holocaust reoccur, Muslims are subject to ethnic cleansing in several Asian nations — and many Americans are unaware, Long Island advocates warn.

Sounding the alarm are leaders of the Islamic Center of Long Island (ICLI) in Westbury and Glen Cove-based Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC), which opened a joint exhibit Sunday called Never Again is Happening Again: The Persecution of Muslims in Asia.

“What is going on in Western China, India, Kashmir, and Myanmar — where there is state-sponsored genocide, racial purity laws, concentration camps, and exclusion of people from society, their jobs, their livelihood, and schools simply because they are Muslim — is no different than what the Jews experienced in Germany and other parts of Europe during [World War II],” said Steven Markowitz, chairman of HMTC. “We will not be silent and we will not allow the world to be silent again.”

At least 1 million Uighurs — an ethnic minority in China — and other Muslim minorities are being held in deceptively named Vocational Education and Training Centers, which human rights observers say are actually forced labor camps, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province. Experts say at least 100,000 Muslims have been killed in what experts term a genocide in the Indian territory of Kashmir. And human rights observers say more than 10,000 Muslims have been killed in the Rohingya genocide that has displaced about 1 million people in Myanmar.

“We have to be not discouraged, but inspired to work together to try and educate people,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who was among those in attendance for a presentation at the exhibits debut. “I can guarantee that 90 percent of the people in the country, maybe more, don’t even know this is happening.”

The program’s keynote speaker, scholar Dr. Imam Malik Mujahid, presented satellite images documenting the genocide in Kashmir and described concentration camps in Burma. His presentation was followed by eyewitness accounts from Dr. Mumtaz Mir and Habeeb Ahmed. 

“We cannot ignore the lessons we learned from the Holocaust, and if we ignore that, then we are rewriting history,” said ICLI President Isma Chaudhry. “We don’t want to be those unfortunate people who were part of history at that time and they chose to be indifferent. Indifference is a sin and that’s what we have to remind each other and ourselves.”

The exhibit, Never Again is Happening Again: The Persecution of Muslims in Asia, is on display at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, located at Welwyn Preserve, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove. For more information, visit hmtcli.org