Muslim group wants $2mil donation redirected to Uighur Muslims in China  

By Talisa Kupenga

A letter, turned public petition, by the Khadija Leadership Network, is calling for a $2-million donation for the Christchurch shooting victims to be returned to donors and redirected to help detained Uighur (said ‘wee-guh’) Muslims in China.  

Network founder Tayyaba Khan says it would help counter global islamahobia. 

"The Uighur community is one of the many minorities in the wider Chinese population, there is about one-million people who are in re-education camps in China which is almost like the Auschwitz of our contemporary times.

"I'd ask people to ask themselves, if they've seen what's happened to Muslims in New Zealand, how could you not stand up for the bigger systemic problem of islamophobia elsewhere?"

More than a week ago $2.1-million was pledged at a Teochew event in Auckland by delegates and Zhang Yikun, the businessman named in the Jami-Lee Ross-Simon Bridges donations scandal. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was asked to pass on the initial $500,000 cheque on behalf of the Teochew delegates to Christchurch.

Donations to the Victim support GiveaLittle page have so far reached $8.7-million.

Khan says, "The call we've made falls in line with the Muslim values of forgiveness, of inclusivity of being peaceful and compassionate and what we're asking for is that compassion to be extended elsewhere given that we've been given such a generous donation."

The call comes in the lead-up to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s first official visit to China this Sunday where she will meet the Chinese President and Premiere.

But Ardern wouldn't confirm whether she would raise the human rights issue of the Uighur people on the trip.

"I haven't actually gone over my intent over bilateral but given I have raised it before that should give you an indication," she told media at her post-cabinet press conference Monday.

The original letter was sent March 18 to the Prime Minister, The Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ and Mayor Phil Goff but Khan says all were yet to respond.