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Photo: Courtesy of Russell Moore

Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is trying to educate Christians about the cultural and demographic genocide that China is perpetrating against its Muslim population.

Why it matters: "If no one in the world is going to notice that someone is gone, then the CCP can do whatever it wants," says Moore.

What's happening: In addition to a webinar with Uighur activists he held last week on the issue, Moore has written about repression of the Uighurs for the Wall Street Journal, has tweeted frequently about it and is working with U.S. officials on the issue.

His immediate goal is simply to spread awareness among Christians, Moore told Axios in an interview.

  • "Churches have been very receptive and alarmed that they did not know sooner that this was happening. That’s what I hear most often, is people asking why they didn’t know that this was taking place," said Moore, adding that Uighurs have seemed "invisible" to many Americans.
  • "And I think their invisibility is what empowers the CCP to continue their actions. If no one in the world is going to notice that someone is gone, then the CCP can do whatever it wants."

Background: Southern Baptists are the largest evangelical Christian group in the U.S., a group that has overwhelmingly supported President Trump despite the president's history of statements and policies targeting Muslims.

  • In the past few months, the Trump administration has levied sanctions on numerous CCP officials over human rights violations against Muslims. The sanctions have brought praise from human rights activists but also accusations of hypocrisy due to the Trump administration's discriminatory policies targeting Muslims.
  • Moore was openly critical of Trump during the 2016 presidential race — which almost cost him his job — and he later opposed Trump's Muslim travel ban that denied entrance to the U.S. to most citizens of several Muslim-majority countries.

Between the lines: By invoking Christian values, Moore is working to translate an issue centered around Muslim vulnerability for a conservative American Christian audience — a group that in recent years has not been inclined to view Muslims with compassion.

  • "The way of Jesus Christ says we pay attention to our neighbor on the side of the road who is being persecuted and who is being beaten," Moore said in a video posted to Twitter on Aug. 21.
  • "We must not allow China to confiscate what belongs only to God: the lives, souls and consciences of vulnerable human beings," he wrote in a September 2019 Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Go deeper: The world's Muslims are facing unprecedented repression

Go deeper

Aug 25, 2020 - World

Biden campaign says China's treatment of Uighur Muslims is "genocide"

Chinese flag behind razor wire at a housing compound in Yengisar, Xinjiang. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden campaign said in a statement Tuesday that the Chinese government's oppression of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the northwest region of Xinjiang is "genocide," and that Joe Biden "stands against it in the strongest terms."

Why it matters: Genocide is a serious crime under international law, and the U.S. government has adopted the formal label only on rare occasions after extensive documentation.

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