(NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - October 8, 2009: Al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahia al-Libi has called on Uighurs to launch a jihad against the Chinese authorities and has urged Muslims worldwide to support their co-religionists, a US monitoring group reported.Chinese security personnel stand guard on a street corner at the centre of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region September 7, 2009. China's troubled far-western city of Urumqi has spelt out potential punishments for spreading rumours after days of sometimes deadly unrest and panic about reported syringe attacks that fanned ethnic tensions.
"It is the duty of Muslims today to stand by the side of their wounded and wronged brothers in East Turkestan," Libi said in a video recording posted on an Islamist website, according to SITE Intelligence group. East Turkestan is the name used by Al-Qaeda for China's Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang. "Let our Muslim brothers in Turkestan know that there is no way for salvation and that there is no way to lift oppression and injustice but with truthful return to their faith and attachment to it as much as possible; to seriously prepare for jihad (holy war)," Libi said. Wearing a white-and-red checkered turban and a vest, Libi also called on Muslims to launch a media campaign to raise awareness of what is happening in China and about the "atheist Chinese colonisation." Libi said that the Turkic Muslim community is suffering from discrimination and pledged that the communist Chinese regime would face the same destiny as the former Soviet Union, which Islamist fighters had ferociously battled in Afghanistan. "As for the state of atheism and stubbornness, it is [doomed] to extinction," he said. "They will experience that which the Russian bear experienced in terms of disintegration and division." The Uighurs of Xinjiang province complain of cultural and religious discrimination practised against them by the Chinese state in the name of the fight against separatism. Chinese authorities have said that riots in the Xinjiang city of Urumqi by Muslim Uighurs on July 5 killed 184 people - most of whom were Han, China's dominant ethnic group - and injured more than 1,600. Uighur leaders accuse Chinese forces of opening fire on peaceful protests and say that Uighurs have been killed in subsequent mob attacks. In July, Al-Qaeda threatened for the first time to attack Chinese interests overseas in retaliation for the deaths of Muslims in Xinjiang, risk analysis consultancy Stirling Assynt reported at the time. The call, which came from the jihadist netork's North African arm, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was swiftly rejected by exiled Uighur leaders. Rebiya Kadeer, the Washington-based head of the World Uighur Congress, said she opposed the use of violence in her campaign to bring greater rights for the ethnic group in Xinjiang. Uighurs generally practise a moderate brand of Islam influenced by Sufi mysticism and earlier shamanistic traditions.
A prominent Al-Qaida militant has threatened to attack China in retaliation for the July 5 riots in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.The clash between the Han Chinese and Uighur communities had left 197 dead and 1,700 injured.
The terror outfit has urged Uygurs in Xinjiang to "make serious preparations" for a "holy war" against the Chinese government and called on fellow Muslims for "support with all they can", the China Daily reports.
Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a video posted on an Islamist website called for "a true return to their (Uygurs) religion and serious preparation for jihad in the path of God the Almighty and to carry weapons."
It is not the first time that a terrorist group has threatened to attack Chinese targets after the July 5 riots.
Earlier in July, Al-Qaida's Algerian-based offshoot, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), had issued a call for "reprisals".
AQIM had pledged to target the 50,000 Chinese workers in Algeria as well as Chinese projects and workers across northwest Africa.