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WEEKEND READER: “We Would Never Really Be Free”

Mar 6, 2022 Aditi Ramaswami
One Uyghur man’s tale of becoming a political pawn in the War on Terror.
WEEKEND READER: “We Would Never Really Be Free”
A Uyghur community member takes part in a protest against China. (AP Photo/Omer Kuscu)

Ayoob Mohammed has had one clear goal: permanent reunification with his wife Aierken Mailikaimu and their children in Canada. Yet for more than a decade, a false claim about Mohammed’s membership in the East Turkestan Islamic Movement — a purported terrorist organization that, according to the Chinese government, has ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban — has followed Mohammed like a shadow.

After 9/11, Mohammed was sold to the U.S. for bounty as an alleged terrorist and held in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. After his exoneration, he resettled in Albania, the only country that would accept him. Since his release from Guantanamo, Mohammed struggled to gain entry into Canada, where the government slapped inadmissibility decisions on him based on shaky evidence they received from the U.S. government.

As we highlight below in this edition of Weekend Reader, Mohammed’s story spotlights the Uyghurs, “a largely Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group native to Xinjiang” in northwest China; their tireless fight for independence from a repressive Chinese government; and how they have gotten caught in a geopolitical web tied to the U.S.’ failed war on terror.

Read all about it in this week’s Weekend Reader, exclusively for supporting subscribers below.

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