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Free from Guantanamo, Uighur nationalists meet with Min. Farrakhan

By Ashahed M. Muhammad | Last updated: Aug 13, 2009 - 1:57:23 PM

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Minister Farrakhan in prayer with Uighurs and Bermuda Muslims on July 22.
HAMILTON, Bermuda - ( - On July 22, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan met with three of the four Uighur nationalists who were granted asylum and allowed to live in Bermuda after being imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for 7 years accused of being enemy combatants by the U.S. government.

The decision by Premier Ewart F. Brown to allow the Uighurs to resettle in Bermuda after secret negotiations with the U.S. without consulting the Governor or the Cabinet sparked large protests in June.

Minister Farrakhan, in his message to Bermuda on July 20, defended the decision by the Premier saying that while it may not have been the “politically correct” decision, it was in fact the correct “moral decision.”

In the meeting, Khalil Mamut, Abdulla Abdulqadir, and Salahidin Abdulahat discussed some of the challenges relating to their imprisonment. According to the three men, they were limited regarding what they could discuss because 13 Uighurs are still held in custody at Guantanamo and there are still legal issues pending.

Min. Farrakhan said the worldwide Muslim community needs to understand what is happening and should be aware of suffering Muslims anywhere they are located.

Free from Guantanamo, Uighur nationalists meet with Min. Farrakhan “You are our family, and your suffering is really our suffering as well, and if we don't feel your pain, then there is a disconnection between us as an ummah,” Min. Farrakhan told the former Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Imam Saleem Abdur-Razzaq Talbot of the Bermuda Islamic Cultural Center facilitated the meeting in which the men spoke of their concern for the families of those still held in Guantanamo. They also told The Final Call that they are interested in moving forward.

The Uighurs are an ethnic minority group of Muslims from Central Asia who face constant persecution from the Chinese government as a result of their seeking independence. Their land, referred to as East Turkistan, is also called Uyghuristan and it is located in an autonomous region of China.

According to the World Uighur Congress, there are approximately 9 million Uighurs worldwide.

The men were captured back in 2001 after American forces bombed a Uighur camp in Afghanistan and they fled to the mountains of Jalalabad. Though they have been cleared of terrorism charges, the Chinese government seeks their extradition to China to possibly try them on charges of treason.