The Xinjiang province in northwestern China is home to the Muslim Uyghurs that have been responsible for terror attacks against China. The leader of ISIS – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – has made it clear that he wants the Uyghurs to join his self-declared Caliphate, as Shoebat.com has reported. Now an al-Qaeda magazine is calling for the same thing according to the South China Morning Post:
A new English-language magazine released by al-Qaeda describes China’s restive Xinjiang region as an “occupied Muslim land” to be “recovered [into] the shade of the Islamic Caliphate”.
Produced by the jihadist organisation’s As-Sahab media wing, the 117-page debut issue of Resurgence includes a feature titled “Did You Know? 10 Facts About East Turkistan,” referring to the name for Xinjiang used by those who advocate independence from China.
While much of the article is inaccurate – it claims, for example, that teaching the Quran is illegal in China (Islam is one of the country’s five recognised official religions) – it shows how China’s actions in the region, such as encouraging the migration of Han Chinese into Xinjiang and restricting religious dress, are being used by jihadist organisations to confirm their belief that Muslims are under threat.
Al-Qaeda is not the only jihadist organisation which has expressed an interest in the situation of Muslims in Xinjiang. In July, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled caliph of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, spoke of Muslim rights being “forcibly seized” in China in a call for Muslims around the world to pledge allegiance to him.
“Your brothers all over the world are waiting for your rescue, and are anticipating your brigades,” Baghdadi told his followers.
“In recent years [jihadist organisations] have expressed an interest in the alleged oppression of Xinjiang Uygurs by the Han Chinese,” Ahmed Hashim, a terrorism expert and associate international studies professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, told the South China Morning Post. “China is being seen as an oppressive power as it grows in strength.”
“The contact between Uygur separatists and jihadists has been rather limited but is increasingly facilitated by Uzbek jihadists in recent years in remote regions of Pakistan,” he said.
China has long maintained that separatist groups in Xinjiang have links to foreign jihadist organisations. After the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Beijing lobbied for the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to be placed on the United States’ terrorist watch list.
Incidentally, that part about al-Qaeda’s claim that teaching the Qur’an being illegal in China shows what appeasement will get you – lies and propaganda. If China allows Qur’anic teachings as a gesture of appeasement and al-Qaeda is recruiting Uyghurs by telling them things like Qur’anic teaching is banned, what’s the benefit to appeasement?
h/t Pamela Geller