Funny you should ask this because just today, I learned myself! Sorry for the recent obsession with Uyghurs, but I've been sitting next to these two women from --whatever you want to call it, Uyghuristan, East Turkestan or the Xinjiang Autonomous Region -- in my Turkish class four hours a day every single day this week and I find them intriguing, even though we can hardly communicate. I mean, here you have two very spunky gals from a country that doesn't exist, that's also known to harbor people who hate us because of our freedom! tm . What's not to like about this scenario?
Anyhoo, today I was looking at their notebooks only to see a useless (to me, since I was trying to copy them) mixture of Chinese and Arabic characters. Then it occurred to me that the Uyghur language, which is a Turkic tongue somewhat related to Uzbek, still uses Arabic characters! Clever readers might know that until Ataturk modernized the language in 1928 (and Allah bless him for that -- it makes Turkish very regular), Turkish used Arabic script as well! Isn't the Turkic empire fascinating?
So, the fact these gals speak and write a language that uses Arabic characters and is spoken by only about eight million people in the world AND are of possibly nationalist persuasion AND know Mandarin makes them complete bad-asses in my book.
Check back for additional information about the Uyghurs as it comes in!