Monitors Say Uighurs Make Threat on Games
By Edward Wong
A terrorist group seeking an independent Muslim state in western China has released a video threatening an attack on the Olympic Games here, according to an American organization that tracks terrorist Internet posts.
The opening graphics of the video, which was released Thursday, show a burning Olympic logo and an explosion superimposed over a Games site, said the monitoring organization, IntelCenter, based in Alexandria, Virginia.
According to IntelCenter’s description, a man holding an assault rifle, who identifies himself as Abdullah Mansour, says in the Uighur language: “We, members of the Turkestan Islamic Party, have declared war against China. We oppose China’s occupation of our homeland of East Turkestan, which is a part of the Islamic world.”
He warns Muslims not to go to the games and not to let their children go. “We do not want to see any Muslim brothers and sisters who believe in Allah and his Holy Prophet Muhammad, who believe in the next life and the day of judgment, get hurt by our fire targeted at China,” he says.
The Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim people, dominate the Xinjiang region in western China.
The video’s violent opening graphics are the same as those in a video the group released July 23, in which a masked man identified as Commander Seyfullah claimed responsibility for bus bombings in Kunming and Shanghai that killed five people and wounded at least 26. In that video, he threatened violence against the Olympics.
On June 27, Seyfullah released a five-page statement dated April 1 that called for attacks on the Olympics and other targets, citing grievances against China’s government, according to IntelCenter.
The statement said suicide bombers around the world were ready to carry out missions. “Particularly, go to the central Chinese cities and kill the top leaders, soldiers, police, prison wardens and accomplices!” it said.
Some terrorism experts say the Turkestan Islamic Party is the same as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM. Chinese officials have been quick to blame ETIM for a series of attacks in Xinjiang. The latest was on Monday, when officials said two Uighur men used a truck, homemade explosives and knives to kill at least 16 paramilitary police officers and wound 16 others while the officers were out for a morning jog in Kashgar, a desert oasis town.
Several outside scholars have said that the Chinese government has failed to substantiate the existence of ETIM, and that it is inflating the group’s reach to justify tightening policies against Uighurs in Xinjiang.
Originally published by The New York Times Media Group.
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