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Global Islamism Monitor - No. 43

Edited by Ilan Berman
August 28, 2017

As part of a continuing clampdown on the country's Muslim population, the Chinese government has banned the use of the Uyghur language in its western autonomous region of Xinjiang. Under the new directive, issued by local authorities in Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture, the local population - which is overwhelmingly Uyghur Muslim in composition - will no longer be able to use their local dialect in any educational institutions. Under the ordinance, schools in the province (which is home to approximately 10 million Uyghurs) must henceforth "prohibit the use of Uyghur language, writing, signs and pictures in the educational system and on campuses" in favor of instruction in Mandarin Chinese. (
Radio Free Asia, August 4, 2017)

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The new language ban represents only the latest restrictive measure leveled by authorities in Beijing against the Uyghurs. Past ordinances include bans on long beards and veils throughout the region as part of what China has described as a campaign to counter Islamic extremism. The pace of such prohibitions, moreover, has quickened in recent years in light of China's vaunted "One Belt, One Road" strategy, which envisions a major opening of trade and commerce with Central Asia and the Middle East.]


European governments are increasingly grappling with the potential threat posed by "alumni" of the Syrian civil war who have begun to return to the Continent. Great Britain is no different in this regard; British authorities have disclosed that - in a bid to prevent their return to the UK - the government of Prime Minister Theresa May has stripped more than 100 foreign fighters and their spouses of citizenship. The move makes those individuals ineligible to reenter the country. (
Voice of America, July 30, 2017)


The Central Asian republic of Tajikistan, meanwhile, is attempting a softer approach. Two years ago, the country amended its criminal laws to allow authorities to issue pardons, on a case-by-case basis, of Tajik nationals who engaged in foreign militancy (including in Iraq and Syria). Officials in Dushanbe, however, insist that the measure is far from a blanket amnesty, and applies only to "those who have not taken part in violence," but have merely been radicalized by Islamist propaganda and subsequently shown signs of contrition.

This effort is intended to ease reconciliation and "reintegration" of the 100 or so Tajik nationals who have returned from Iraq and Syria to date - an influx that is expected to increase in the months ahead. After all, explains Tajik analyst Faridun Hodizoda, the Islamic State "is being defeated in the Middle East and the fighters have no choice but to escape." (
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, August 6, 2017)


In recent years, tens of thousands of foreign fighters have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the ranks of the Islamic State, many of them with spouses and children in tow. But what becomes of these vulnerable dependents when the tide of battle begins to turn? The answer can be found in the plight of a cohort of at least 48 Russian children that have been discovered in Iraq to date. Most of these minors have lost their parents as a result of the Islamic State's military conflict with the U.S.-led coalition, and now find themselves stranded in the country, without a stable support network or a path back to their home country. (
, August 4, 2017)

Related Categories: Europe; Central Asia; Terrorism; Radical Islam; Iran Freedom Initiative; Iran

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