Building Global Solidarity with the Uyghur Community

August 09, 2022

This event aims to bring the Uyghur and Vancouver Muslim community together to build global solidarity.

About this event

This event will begin with a featured dance performance from the Vancouver Uyghur heritage Society.

Uyghur pastries and snacks will be provided by the Vancouver Uyghur community, catered by Baghven Uyghur restaurant.

While there is growing media coverage concerning human rights atrocities targeting Uyghur, Kazakh, and other Muslim Turkic communities in Northwest China, there is also an increasing public interest in engaging and understanding the history, culture, and politics of the region and the people who live there. With the support of SFU's David Lam Centre and Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies, the downtown campus of Simon Fraser University will host a community oriented roundtable discussion focused on the prospects for solidarity across Muslim communities, the value of Uyghur community knowledge, and the role of labour rights in these discussions.

The goal of this event is to bring the Uyghur and Central Asian community into the space that the David Lam Centre and Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies has built to nurture relationships across the diverse Asian world as well as invite the broader community who are interested in supporting this effort. Drawing on this emergent interest in the settler Muslim community in British Columbia, this “teach-in” event will foster an open and safe space where panellists and the engaged public can discuss the Muslim diaspora’s efforts related to social movements and the revitalization of Indigenous cultural heritage from Northwest China. In the past, decentralized community events in the Vancouver area have resulted in the organization of protests, grassroots cultural activities, educational programs, building solidarity between diverse communities in support of Uyghur struggles, even while Muslim-majority states have remained silent or defended Chinese policies toward Muslim minorities. This discussion between panelists and the the audience will consider questions regarding the purposes and effects of these efforts: what has been done and what should people of conscience do going forward to build greater decolonial, anti-racist solidarity with the Uyghurs? How does a greater understanding of Uyghur history and heritage assist in this effort? How can labour rights advocates play a role in these conversations?


Darren Byler is an anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City and In the Camps: China's High-Tech Penal Colony. His current research is focused on state power, policing and carceral theory, infrastructure development and global China.

Rian Thum is Senior Lecturer in East Asian History at the University of Manchester. He is the author of The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History (Harvard University Press). His research and teaching are generally concerned with the interpenetration of China and the Muslim World.

Laura Murphy is Professor of Human Rights and Contemporary Slavery at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University (UK). She is the author of The New Slave Narrative: The Battle over Representations of Contemporary Slavery (Columbia University Press, 2019), editor of Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives (Columbia University Press, 2014), and author of Metaphor and the Slave Trade in West African Literature (Ohio University Press, 2012). Professor Murphy’s research is broadly interested in forced labour globally, with a particular interest in survivor narratives and first-person testimony. She is currently working on several research projects about the Chinese government’s intertwined systems of internment and forced labour that have been inflicted on the people of the Uyghur Region.

Kabir Qurban (Uyghur youth activist) is an secondary school teacher, a program coordinator at Muslim Foodbank and Community services. He works actively in support of the Uyghur people, advocating for their human rights, as part of his passion for global human rights and youth education. Kabir also is a blog writer and an award-winning film producer.

August 9th, 2022

SFU Harbour Centre, Room 1400, 515 W Hastings St, Vancouver