Nury Turkel, top Uyghur-US Attorney of the Law and Human Rights Advocate, has been named 2020 Global Legal Person of the Year, an award initiated by Muslim News, Nigeria’s most authoritative Islamic newspaper.
His nomination comes after an extensive and rigorous search for a winner in the category by #MNAwards2020 committee headed by the newspaper’s publisher, Rasheed Abubakar.
Abubakar said Turkel is one of the leading human rights activists in the world and a notable voice for the voiceless Uyghur Muslims who have been detained, turtured, and persecuted by the Chinese government based on available incontrovertible evidence.
According to him, there are reports that more than three million Muslim minorities have been held in the concentration camps by the Chinese government without legal justification. They are being forced to renounce their faith, change their names, eat pork, drink alcohol, swear allegiance to the Communist Party, and undergo what they called “de-radicalisation” process.
“The Muslim world has been largely unconcerned since the news of the existence of the camps surfaced in 2017. Many didn’t even know the plight of their brethren in the Uyghur region, otherwise known as East Turkestan.
“However, Nury Turkel is among the few who refused to be silent. He has led the campaign against China’s maltreatment of Uyghur and other Muslim communities in the region, using his knowledge as a lawyer and human rights activist for the oppressed”, he added.
Mr. Abubakar who is also the Chairman, #MNAwards2020 Committee congratulated Turkel on his nomination, saying his great strides has not gone unnoticed, urging him not to relent in his quest for justice
Nury Turkel – a Muslim attorney and human rights advocate who specializes in regulatory compliance, federal investigation and enforcement, anti-bribery, legislative advocacy and immigration hails from Uyghur, China but resides in the United States on asylum.
The nominee is the first US–educated Uyghur lawyer and the first Uyghur American to serve as Commissioner on the United States’ Commission on International Religious freedom (USCIRF) following his appointment by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives; Nancy Pelosi on May 26, 2020.
According to Abubakar, as we have always established that the #MNAwards is one that is based on merit and celebration of Muslim professionals who have utilized their professional capacity as a means to champion the cause of humanity despite the passive attention common among Muslim professionals to matters that project the pristine Islamic values, we have identified an international legal icon as the most deserving for the Muslim Legal Person of the year.
In an attempt to give a voice to the voiceless and help bring mainstream the happenings in the concentration camps in China to the front runner, the Uygur American Attorney emphasized that the motive behind his quest is to bring to the world “firsthand evidence-based information, research documentation and professionalised advocacy work” about what was happening to the Uyghurs in China.
Beside his advocacy work in the United States, Turkel has engaged in policy and legislative advocacy in the European Union and the Australian Parliament. In October 2019, he testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China where he spoke about the infringement on the rights of Uyghur Muslims in the Chinese internment camps and advocated for a legislative response to the callous treatment of the Uyghur ethnic minorities. His recommendations have been enacted as part of the US Laws and pending Bills including the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-145).
“Our Legal Person of the Year is an Attorney of Law and a Muslim advocate that knows his onions and has always stood for the cause of justice in the interest of his people through policy-oriented commentaries and op-ed publications published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Time Magazine, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, The independent and other publications in America.
Outside America, Turkel has spoken at numerous policy forums, academic institutes and human rights conferences regarding the internment and violation of the fundamental rights of Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims in China.
When asked in a recent interview what he thinks the Chinese government’s objective in maltreating Uyghur Muslims was, Turkel mentioned one word, which he described as “Racism”, adding that, “The Chinese government perceives Uyghur Muslims and their cultural identity as a source of future political unrest. They [are] claiming to fight against extremism and terrorism, but you don’t do that by locking up three million citizens – Chinese citizens.’
We at Muslim News Nigeria believe that if the Muslim world, and other major powers across the world rally round people like Nury Turkel collectively, they can end the sufferings and violation of the rights of Muslims in that region in no time.
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