Uyghur - A Central Asian Community With Difference

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Uyghur - A Central Asian Community With Difference

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There are many ethnic groups in the world. Big or small they all contain their own unique elements. Uyghurs are also a Turkic (as per their origin) ethnic group who live in Eastern and Central Asia. Uyghurs live in different parts of the world but majority today live in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region in China. Most Uyghur today are Muslims and they are close to Central Asian countries when it comes to culture and ethnicity. Outside China Uyghurs live majorly in Central Asian countries Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and in Turkey.

Apart from Central Asian countries Uyghurs also live in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Russia, US and some other parts of the world in small numbers. Uyghur practise Islam and their history is divided by historians in different phases of history.There is an ongoing tension between China and Xinjiang region same as between China and Tibet. China says Uyghur are waging violent campaign for an independent state by plotting bombs, sabotage and civic unrest. This tension between China and Uyghur has a long history but we are not going into that here.  Uyghur originated as small coalition of Tiele tribes in northern China, Mongolia and Altai mountains. Uyghur today are said to be descendants of number of people like ancient Uyghur of Mongolia, Iranian Saka tribes and other Indo European people. Uyghur have been called by different names by Russian travellers, western travellers and Chinese people in the past. As a matter of fact there was for centuries no 'national' name for them; people identified themselves with the oasis they came from, like Kashgar or Turfan.  After lot of names by different countries these Turkic Muslims as an ethnic group got their name group in 1930s as Uyghur.


Uyghurs identity is not one as  some follow Muslim vision while some follow Turkic vision. There may be debate on who actually Uyghurs are and there is lot of tension between China and it's Xinjiang, but Uyghurs are Eurasian population who are genetically connected to European and East Asian population. Though their origin dates back to as early as 9th century or even before but they are still struggling to get their identity and freedom in place. History says that they have followed different religions since beginning at different points and today major of them follow Islam. Though Uyghur follow Islam still there is difference between Uyghur and other Islamic communities in Xinjiang as they worship in different mosques. But even after considering all the differences it is quite clear to say Uyghurs are closest to Central Asian culture and ethnicity.

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