A Comparison of Respect for the Sanctity of Mosques in France, the US, and China

France has seen a spate of attacks carried out by radicalized Muslims. The attacks and killings must be denounced. But more so must one denounce the terrorism and killings carried out by the French state against Muslims in its wars abroad. In a move that gives a strong inkling of French values, the French state has targeted 76 mosques for “unprecedented action” and potential closure.

France is a party to the western chorus that condemns the alleged internment of the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China. China has rebutted the western disinformation; for example, China provided real-site photos in Xinjiang to debunk satellite images as purported evidence of so-called internment camps.

Eljan Anayt, spokesperson of the Xinjiang regional government, said,

I want to emphasize that Xinjiang is an open region, and there is no need to learn about it through satellite images. We welcome all foreign friends with objective, unbiased stance to come to Xinjiang and to know a real Xinjiang.

The Qiao Collective, an all-volunteer group comprised of ethnic Chinese people living abroad, complied a must-read report on Xinjiang that warned of “politically motivated” western disinformation:

The effectiveness of Western propaganda lies in its ability to render unthinkable any critique or alternative—to monopolize the production of knowledge and truth itself. In this context, it is important to note that the U.S. and its allies are in the minority when it comes to its critiques of Chinese policy in Xinjiang. At two separate convenings of the UN Human Rights Council in 2019 and 2020, letters condemning Chinese conduct in Xinjiang were outvoted, 22-50 and 27-46. Many of those standing in support of Chinese policy in Xinjiang are Muslim-majority nations and/or nations that have waged campaigns against extremism on their own soil, including Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, and Nigeria. On the issue of Xinjiang, the clear break in consensus between the Global South and the U.S. bloc suggests that Western critiques of Xinjiang are primarily politically motivated.

France states that its crackdown on radicalized mosques is spurred by terrorist actions. The Qiao Collective notes that France had earlier begun its own “de-radicalization programs.”

➤ 2015 October – France begins operating “de-radicalization programs.” It would seem these programs have since garnered mostly criticism from the public, but mainstream Western discourse has not accused France of cultural genocide.

Earlier in 2020, French media alleged the destruction of mosques in Xinjiang by Chinese authorities. The New York Times ran a similar story claiming that “China Is Erasing Mosques and Precious Shrines in Xinjiang …” This is coming from the US that erased several Indigenous nations from it landmass at its establishment. This is coming from a country that is engaged in genocide against Muslims worldwide — calculated to be 34 million avoidable deaths in 20 countries post-9-11.1

The below video depicts how US forces respect the sanctity of a mosque during its illegal war waged in Iraq, a war based on the fixing of intelligence and facts indicating that Iraq possessed weapons-of-mass-destruction (weapons that the US arrogates the right to possess to itself and some of its allies) around the policy. That war has been condemned as a genocide.2

Regarding the situation surrounding mosques in China, CGTN corrected the western disinformation:

Western accusations of “forceful demolition of mosques,” “persecution of religious leaders,” and “restrictions of religious freedom” in Xinjiang are “ridiculous” and “groundless,” and the lies and slandering have deeply offended the feelings of Xinjiang people and tarnished the true picture of Xinjiang, Xinjiang Islamic Association said in a statement…

Xinhua, the largest media organization in China presented an affirmative and uplifting video on the respect for Islam by the Chinese government.

Another video report cites the greater number of mosques in China than in either the US or France, even when compared per capita; the modernization of mosques having been carried out; the effectiveness of a respectful de-radicalization program in Xinjiang; and the reluctance of western governments and western media to acknowledge terrorism having been carried out in China.

The Qiao Collective provides relevant background information that China has been a victim of several attacks by Muslim terrorists:

Although there were many attacks between 1990 and 2016 and not all of the information is yet available, some high-profile attacks are as follows:

➤ 2009 July 5The Urumqi Riots, 197 killed, 1700 wounded…

➤ 2013 October 28 – Tiananmen Attack, 5 killed, 40 wounded…

➤ 2014 March 1 – Kunming Train Station Attack, 31 killed, 141 wounded…

➤ 2014 May 22 – Urumqi Attack, 39 killed and 94 injured …

➤ 2014 July 30Assassination of Imam Jume Tahir at the Id Kah Mosque after morning prayers…

➤ 2016 September 6 – Kyrgyzstan’s state security service attributed the suicide bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek to the ETIM/TIP.

While terrorist actions have been carried out by Muslims, this points to a minority among Muslims. In no way does it diminish Islam as a religion compared to other religions because there is plenty of terrorism to be attributed to other confessions such as Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. Unless otherwise demonstrated by solid evidence, then the terroristic actions must be acknowledged as that of a minority in the religion. Any actions taken to remediate the violent factions must be undertaken in a respectful manner that does not tarnish the entirety of a group.

Finally, to stake out the moral high ground, the state must abstain from carrying out its own terrorism.

  1. See Gideon Polya, US-Imposed Post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide (Korsgaard Publishing, 2020). Review. []
  2. See Abdul Haq al-Ani and Tarik al-Ani, Genocide in Iraq: The Case against the UN Security Council and Member States, (Clarity Press, 2013). Review. []
Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: kimohp@gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.