U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a video message that his administration will speak out for religious freedom for all, including Uighurs in China.
The White House held an online celebration of Muslim Eid al-Fitr on Sunday (May 16, 2021) and released a pre-recorded video of President Biden and the first lady. In the video, Biden said, “All people should be able to practice their faith without fear of harassment or violence. We will defend that right for all people. That’s why I ended the shameful Muslim travel ban, and that’s why this administration will speak out for religious freedom for all people, including the Uighurs in China and the Rohingya in Burma.”
An imam leads Uighur faithful in prayer during Ramadan at the Gaman Mosque in Hotan, Xinjiang. (April 29, 2021)
Shortly after taking office in January of this year, the Biden administration declared the mass and concentrated detentions, among other acts, of Xinjiang’s Muslim minority by the Chinese Communist authorities to be genocide and imposed sanctions on relevant Communist officials and entities. Beijing countered with counter-sanctions.
However, the White House-sponsored online celebration of Muslim Eid al-Fitr has been boycotted by the U.S. Muslim community because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim advocacy group in the United States, said in a statement Saturday it would join other Muslim groups in boycotting the White House-sponsored online celebration of Eid al-Fitr. “We cannot celebrate Eid al-Fitr with the Biden administration,” the statement said, because Biden “has repeatedly called the Israeli government’s bombing of people and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip legitimate self-defense.”
In a video Sunday, Biden said Israelis and Palestinians both deserve the same security, prosperity, freedom and democracy, and that the U.S. government will continue to work to restore calm to the region.