A leading Al-Qaeda militant on Wednesday called on Muslims worldwide to defend Uighurs in China's restive northwestern region of Xinjiang. He told Uighurs to prepare for a holy war or Jihad and urged a "vast media campaign" to raise awareness of their fate at the hands of "oppressive" China.
In the video posted to jihadist websites, Abu Yahya al-Libi appeared to launch a frontal assault against China.
"This massacre is not being carried out by criminal Crusaders or evil Jews who have committed crimes against our nation," al-Libi stated.
"Today, a new massacre is being carried out by Buddhist nationalists and communists against the Muslim population in eastern Turkestan," said al-Libi.
Islamists call Xinjiang East Turkestan. Uighurs are Muslims native to Xinjiang province, and have cultural ties to Turkic peoples in Central Asia.
"There is no way to remove injustice and oppression without a true return to their (Uighurs) religion and ... serious preparation for Jihad in the path of God the Almighty and to carry weapons in the face of those (Chinese) invaders," he said.
"It is a duty for Muslims today to stand by their wounded and oppressed brothers in East Turkestan ... and support them with all they can," al-Libi added.
Al-Libi claims terrible crimes are being perpetrated in Xinjiang "which nobody can see," urging a media campaign to give these crimes the same visibility as those "carried out by westerners against Muslims."
He also accused China of using "satanic ways" to oppress Muslims in the province and replace them with other ethnicities while "looting their wealth and undermining their culture and religion."
"Tens of thousand of people have been silently killed to prevent a revolt. The communist Chinese government has tried to eliminate all links between eastern Turkestan and the Islamic nation by sending colonisers to constantly reduce the number of Muslims," he stated.
Another tactic China is using to exterminate Muslims is calling the province Xinjiang instead of eastern Turkestan, just as Palestine's name as been changed to Israel, al-Libi argued.
He described China's presence in Xinjiang as an "occupation" and claimed the colonisation of the province has made the Muslim population a minority.
"The Chinese have closed all the Islamic schools, forbidding the study of the Muslim religion. They have arrested and killed all the Muslim leaders," he said.
Xinjiang is also the province where China is carrying out the largest number of nuclear experiments, al-Libi alleged.
"Thousands of people have died from the radiation emitted by the many nuclear missiles that have been launched and the experiments carried out in the area," al-Libi concluded.
Uighurs make up 8 million people out of Xinjiang's population of 20 million. It covers one-sixth of the country and is relatively sparsely populated.
A total of 197 people were killed over several days of unrest in Xinjiang in July and rioting in the capital Urumqi. Most of those who died were from the Han Chinese majority.
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