This past summer, communist China, which is engaged in a campaign of cultural genocide against the Uyghur Muslims in the country's Xinjiang region, used the controversy over Qur'an burnings in Scandinavia to fuel Islamist hostility against the West.
Astonishingly enough, Islamists in the West have gone along with the campaign. And so one brand of authoritarianism enlists the help of another in the fight against the free world—all under the guise of "peace."
The campaign became evident at a press conference in Beijing in July when the regime's foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, praised a resolution that condemned Qur'an burnings in Sweden passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. The resolution passed over the objections of Western delegates who cited free speech concerns.
Mr. Wang declared that freedom of speech should not be used to stoke "conflicts and antagonism between civilizations" and that "all religious beliefs and feelings need to be respected." Ambassador Chen Xu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva, took the same line, condemning "Islamophobia" in the West.
It's rich a message coming from a regime that has forced Uyghur Muslim women whose husbands are detained in internment camps to share beds with members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The same regime destroyed thousands of monasteries in Tibet and forced remaining temples to display images of CCP officials. Moreover, the regime has even altered the text of Bibles distributed by Christians.
It's part of Beijing's "Global Civilization Initiative" that seeks to enlist the world's Muslims in a struggle against Western democracies. Two weeks after the UNHRC's vote, Mr. Wang declared that China was ready to work with its allies to "safeguard the diversity of world civilizations" and that freedom of speech "should not serve as an excuse to incite a clash of civilizations."
Chinese officials can make comments like these with straight faces in part because Western Islamists and their leftist allies let them. Islamists and leftists know that leveling chimerical accusations of "Islamophobia" against Western democracies and "genocide" against Israel generates more energy on the part of their followers than standing up to an actual genocide of Muslims in China. For these folks, attacking the West is best.
To be fair, the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) did host a webinar in 2020 to promote a letter condemning the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) failure to oppose the CCP's oppression of the Uyghurs but has said very little about the crisis since. By way of comparison, USCMO organized an anti-Israel march attended by 35,000 people in 2020. Along these lines, it has called on Muslims to boycott France for its alleged "Islamophobia."
And, of course, the organization forcefully condemned America's vote against the UNHRC's Qur'an burning resolution, declaring that there are limits to free speech, which is exactly the line Beijing used in its anti-Western propaganda in Geneva. Predictably enough, the organization issued a statement portraying Hamas's Oct.7 massacre of 1,400 Israeli civilians as an act of self-defense.
Another Islamist organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has condemned China for its mistreatment of the Uyghurs, having posted hundreds of statements and press releases about the genocide on its website. Nevertheless, the organization's website has thousands of references to the evils of Western "Islamophobia" and the alleged misdeeds of the Jewish state.
The CCP's effort to enlist Islamists in the West in its campaign to undermine Western democracies is working quite well despite its mistreatment of the Uyghurs. Echoing CCP propaganda, Islamists in America express more contempt for the United States and Israel—where Muslim populations are growing—than they do for the Chinese regime under which Muslims are brutally oppressed.
The results are potentially disastrous. Thousands of young Americans recently posted videos on the China-controlled social media platform TikTok, expressing agreement with a letter released by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2002. This letter, replete with anti-Western tropes, justified the murder of almost 3,000 civilians on 9/11.
These CCP puppets on TikTok are reading from an Islamist script to legitimize Hamas's violence against Israeli civilians in the Oct. 7 massacre and castigate the United States for supporting Israel in its effort to defeat its Islamist enemies. Soon, similar arguments will be used to hinder American efforts to defend itself against its enemies—again in the name of "peace." This doesn't help Muslims in the West or Palestinians in Gaza but only advances the interests of the CCP, an increasingly oppressive and aggressive regime that needs to be confronted—not collaborated with.
Dexter Van Zile is managing editor of Focus on Western Islamism.