Maajid Nawaz: Uyghurs suffering ‘most technologically sophisticated genocide’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Maajid Nawaz: Uyghurs suffering ‘most technologically sophisticated genocide’

Columinst condemns China for persecution of Muslim minority and says it is being 'met with silence, and perhaps even ignorance'

Protestors against discrimination of Uyghurs
Protestors against discrimination of Uyghurs

Maajid Nawaz last night warned China’s persecution of the Uyghurs was being “met with silence, and perhaps even ignorance.”

Describing in precise detail “history’s most technologically sophisticated genocide”, Nawaz told a 700-strong Limmud audience: “If I stand by and am complacent, then what do I say to my children?

“For me, ‘Never Again’ means that if we see genocide happening again, we must not stand by, be complacent and ignore it. Genocide is an atrocity that permanently leaves a stain on the humanity of everyone who is alive at the time of its happening.”

A recent report provided compelling evidence that Chinese authorities are forcing hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs into forced labour, primarily to pick cotton from fields in the western region of Xinjiang.

A five-day hunger strike by Nawaz earlier this year successfully pushed a petition on Uyghur persecution beyond the 100,000 threshold of signatures required for a debate in the UK parliament.

However, the LBC presenter and Quilliam director expressed his frustration that despite October’s debate, “not a single mainstream Western newspaper apart from the Jewish News,” had yet placed the Uyghur’s persecution on its front page.

Maajid Nawaz

Jewish News has led a campaign to highlight to MPs the similarities between the Jewish experience of persecution and China’s repression of its Uyghur minority. Images of shaved heads, crammed cells and names replaced by numbers in vast ‘re-education’ camps have been met by communal outcry.

The LBC presenter made his remarks in conversation with Sir Mick Davis, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission of the UK.

Davis stated his growing concern that the ‘Never Again’ pledge “means nothing, because it happens all the time”.

He further posed questions on the international community’s response to China, arguing that “a fundamental moral flaw” of the nation state is giving a free pass to repugnant crimes if they are in the national interest, noting similarities to the Holocaust in this respect.


Nawaz responded that “the silence around all of this meant something for me. If our consumption patterns rely on a genocide, then there comes a point of no return, making genocide tolerable.”

Uyghur men held in camps in north-west China. Estimates suggest more then one million Muslims are being held in such conditions.

He cited the demand for PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic or cheap cotton imports which have heavily relied on China, attributing these patterns to a “merger of corporatism with a one-party state”, which he argued was not dissimilar to Mussolini’s fascism.

Earlier this month, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis issued a scathing attack on the Chinese state after feeling “compelled” to speak out after “reflecting upon the deep pain of Jewish persecution throughout the ages.”

Davis concluded the hour-long session with a rallying call: “It is the people, not the Government- shouting, being loud, demanding and demonstrating- that saves the future.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: