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Accepted Paper:

Contribution of the studies of Uyghur scholars and translations to the preservation of the Uyghur language and culture  
Abdulhakim Abdulkarim Idris (Center for Uyghur Studies)


For the last seven decades, the Uyghur people have faced immense oppression. OHCHR and many countries recognize that the the CCP’s atrocities against the Uyghurs and Other Turkic peoples as crimes against humanity and genocide. One stark aspect of this genocide is the systematic eradication of Uyghur language and culture. In recent years, the CCP has enforced bans on the use of Uyghur language as a medium of instruction in schools. It should be noted that language and religion serve as foundational pillars that unite the Uyghur people. Yet, there are many obstacles for those seeking to preserve their language, culture, and faith, particularly in accessing educational materials in the Uyghur language. The Uyghurs in East Turkistan are coerced into adopting Chinese for education communication, hindering their ability to engage with their heritage. However, safeguarding the Uyghur language is extremely important, as the life of any society depends upon the preservation of its linguistic and cultural identity.

After the 2000s, as the CCP's crackdown on religious activities in East Turkistan increased, some Uyghur intellectuals and religious scholars began to teach, translate, research, and publish in third countries. Uyghur scholars and intellectuals who studied in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkiye are currently working predominantly in this field.  In order to preserve the Islamic identity of the Uyghur people, Qur'anic commentaries, and other materials related to the daily religious practices have been published in Uyghur. In addition,  many works on Uyghur culture and history have been translated and delivered to Uyghurs in the Diaspora.

Until now, around 400 books have been published in the Uyghur language outside of East Turkistan. Many of these are currently protected abroad as part of efforts to preserve the Uyghur culture. A notable initiative in this area is the project called “Remarkable 100 Books”. To date, this project published 15 books on various topics such as politics, literature, religion etc, which were translated from Arabic, English, and Turkish. In the translation, writing and publication of those books, names such as Abdulcelil Turan, who manages Taklimakan Uyghur Publishing House, and recent scholars such as Muhammed Yusuf Qarim and Abdurrahman Kashgari are well-known. 

In conclusion, it is of utmost importance for Uyghurs in the diaspora to preserve their language and religion in order to stop the ongoing genocide in East Turkistan and ensure the protection of their community. This study aims to assess the progress made in this endeavor.

Panel REL02
The Religions of Central Asia: Past, Present, and Future
  Session 1 Saturday 8 June, 2024, -