HRW urges New Zealand's Ardern to discuss Muslims in China

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese Muslims have been detained without charge in camps, where relatives and ex-inmates say they have been subjected to physical abuse and forced to renounce Islam. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 March 2019

HRW urges New Zealand's Ardern to discuss Muslims in China

  • Human Rights Watch said Friday that Ardern "spoke forcefully in defense of Muslims' rights" after the attacks and should do so again in Beijing
  • It said Ardern should publicly call on Chinese leaders to close the camps, end the abuses

BEIJING: A rights group is urging New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to raise concerns about reported Chinese government abuses of Muslims during her visit to Beijing.
Ardern's visit on Monday and Tuesday comes two weeks after a gunman killed 50 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand. Human Rights Watch said Friday that Ardern "spoke forcefully in defense of Muslims' rights" after the attacks and should do so again in Beijing.
Hundreds of thousands of Chinese Muslims have been detained without charge in camps, where relatives and ex-inmates say they have been subjected to physical abuse and forced to renounce Islam.
Human Rights Watch said Ardern should publicly call on Chinese leaders to close the camps, end the abuses, and permit independent observers' access to the region.


“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

Updated 31 May 2020

“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

  • Troops can go in ’very quickly,’ Trump says

CHICAGO: The firestorm of protest, arson and looting that has consumed the US for five days began at the counter of an Arab American grocery store.

Staff working for Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cup Foods, called Minneapolis police after George Floyd, 46, twice tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to make a purchase.

Officers who arrested Floyd held him to the ground with a knee on his neck, as he pleaded that he could not breathe. He lost consciousness and died later in hospital. One officer has been charged with third-degree murder and further charges are expected.

“What took place outside … was not in our hands,” Abumayyaleh told US TV. “The murder and execution was something done by the police, and it was an abuse of power. The police brutality needs to stop.”

Abumayyaleh said he knew Floyd as a customer, and as someone who was always pleasant. He did not find out until the following morning that the man had died. “We were all outraged,” he said, and Floyd “may not have even known that the bill was counterfeit.”

The store owner and his sons, Samir, Adam and Mahmoud, have gone into hiding in the face of a wave of threats against them on social media. They took down their store’s Facebook page and its landline phone has been disconnected.

Minneapolis has more than 50 Arab- and Muslim-owned stores mostly north of where the incident occurred, all operating under statewide COVID-19 restrictions. Arab store owners said they feared speaking out publicly about the incident.

An unidentified man who answered the phone at one Arab-owned store told Arab News that both the killing of Floyd and vandalism against businesses “is wrong.”

Since Floyd died last Tuesday, protesters have vandalized, looted and burned down more than 200 stores in Minneapolis. On Friday and Saturday, the violence spread to New York, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte North Carolina.

In Minnesota, protesters maintained a daily vigil in front of the Cup Foods store at 3759 Chicago Avenue, painting walls and the street with murals and graffiti in memory of Floyd. After four nights of confrontations in the city, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the state’s national guard on Saturday for the first time since the Second World War.

US President Donald Trump said troops could be deployed if local authorities requested their help. “We could have our military there very quickly,” he said.