Iran doesn’t really care about Muslims if they’re in China or Russia
Iran’s official propaganda depicts the country’s head of state Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the “Guardian Commander of Muslims” — Vali-ye Amr-e Moslemin. He is said to be the protector of Muslims all over the world and a champion of the Palestinian cause.
However, the regime in Tehran repeatedly turns a blind eye to the sufferings of Muslims in Russia and China, both of which are considered strategic allies by Iran in its struggle against the United States.
The most recent example of the regime’s hypocrisy was Khamenei’s first reaction to the new US Embassy in Jerusalem and the clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters. On May 17, Khamenei thundered against Israel: “Beit al-Moqaddas (Jerusalem) is the capital of Palestine. America and those greater or smaller than America and its satellites can’t do a damned thing about the divine truth and tradition of Palestine.”
He asked God for absolution for the sins of “the martyrs of Palestine” and prayed for “greater resilience and resistance” for the “warriors of the path of righteousness and the holy warriors of the path of God.”
Remarkably, Khamenei did not utter a single word about the Chinese government’s decision to dispatch more than 1 million Communist officials to live with Muslim families in the western region of Xinjiang. The so-called home stays serve the purpose of political indoctrination of China’s Uyghur Muslim population. It constitutes the most invasive form of government surveillance of citizens.
Iran has been just as silent about re-education camps, in which the Chinese government incarcerates tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of Muslims. The Independent reported that Chinese Muslim detainees are forced to drink alcohol, eat pork and denounce their religion in Maoist “self-criticism” group sessions.
The agonies of China’s 22 million Muslim population are not new nor is Khamenei’s silence about it.
During the July 2009 Urumqi riots, which led to the death and post-riot disappearance of Muslim Uyghur activists, the Ahmadinejad government described the Uyghurs as “terrorists.”
At the time, the Tabnak News Agency, which was close to the former chief commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohsen Rezaei, offered an interesting response. It published a reader comment: “Is there difference between Muslims? How come our honourable president constantly thinks about the Muslims of Gaza but ignores Chinese Muslims?”
The Theological Seminary in Qom issued a public statement condemning “killing of many Muslims and closure of mosques in the hands of a racist bunch” but Khamenei, the self-proclaimed Commander Guardian and protector of Muslims, remained silent.
Tehran is just as silent when it comes to the plight of the Muslim population of Russia, in particular Chechens. This silence raises questions about the Iranian regime’s sincerity on the Palestinian and other Islamic causes. These appear to be a matter of expediency rather than belief.
When there is any criticism, regime spokesmen make vague references to “realism” and “raison d’etat,” none of which figures prominently in Khamenei’s dealings with the United States or Israel. In the case of the United States and Israel, the ayatollah takes upon himself the mantle of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism.
These vestments no longer cover the hypocrisy of the regime in Tehran. Iran is nothing but a republic of dissembling for the Muslim cause. It chants about Islam and Muslim but averts its gaze when expedient. As its head of state, Khamenei bears the responsibility for the hypocrisy and the dissembling.