Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Al Qaeda Not Only Against the West

China and America may not see eye to eye on everything. But that doesn't mean they can't share common enemies.

Form Reuters:

Image from

DUBAI, Oct 7 (Reuters) - A prominent al Qaeda militant urged Uighurs in Xianjiang to make serious preparations for a holy war against "oppressive" China and called on fellow Muslims to offer support.

Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a video posted on an Islamist website on Wednesday, warned China of a fate similar to that of former communist superpower, the Soviet Union, which disintegrated some two decades ago.

"The state of atheism is heading to its fall. It will face what befell the Russian bear (Soviet Union)," he said in the message in which he accused China of committing massacres against Uighurs and seeking to dissolve their identity.

Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to prop up a Marxist government against Islamist fighters, but was ground down by guerrilla warfare and withdrew in 1988-89. Al Qaeda emerged from the groups that fought Soviet forces at the time.

Read On
It sounds like China is on Al Qaeda's hate list because it is an atheist state (and hasn't converted to Islam). And the consequence of this is that China will fall like the former USSR?! Yawn...

I really shouldn't yawn. Al Qaeda could strike China or America or a whole host of other countries across the world and we'd be in a post-9/11 state all over again. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen. I feel like we (Americans) have only recently started to get over the unfathomable attacks perpetuated against us eight years ago.

There's no doubt that China's situation with its Muslim population in Xinjiang is a mess. The riots this past summer and the recent wave of "needle attacks" are proof that the China's having a bit of a "harmony" problem. But Al Qaeda is no answer to these problems. Hopefully none of the frustrated Muslims of China get involved in Al Qaeda's network of hate and terror.


Anonymous said...

I personally don't feel the Chinese are necessarily anti-Uighur or anti-Tibetan, but rather its the incredible value that the culture places on guanxi which does not allow the same economic opportunities for the ethnic minorities and this is the real root of the uprisings in both regions. I think its the same for Chinese farmers who immigrate to the cities looking for work. The opportunities are clearly not the same for everyone in China and if China wants true harmony it will probably need to enact laws similar to the EEO laws we had to enact in America to allow minorities a chance to participate in the economic success of the country.

I think Al Qaeda sees the frustration and is looking to capitalize on it. The whole atheist state rhetoric is a joke. Anyone whose even climbed a mountain and seen the endless shrines, red ribbons, and burning incense realizes just how 'religous' the Chinese are.

Mark said...

There's some bad blood against those ethnic groups.

In 2007, before I spent a few weeks in Xinjiang, nearly every Chinese person told me to be careful because "Xinjiang people all have knives" or that "they will steal your money and kill you."

And with Tibetans, you hear similar sort of stories about how savage-like they were before China "liberated" them.

I agree on making sure there won't be discrimination on jobs. If I'm not mistaken, just about every job application requires a photo to go along with it. So there can be pretty sweeping discrimination on job searches.

Anonymous said...

Got into a rather lengthy discusion with my wife about this issue. She told me about a Uighur family that lived in their Hutong. She said that their was no racist hatred towards them and that they were actually quite popular in the neighborhood, sharing their unusual food dishes with the neighborhood and vice versa. I was basically trying to figure out exactly how the Chinese and China view the Uighurs and why there is a problem and if I was being naive and wanted to learn if there is an actual dislike based only on race or religion. I first proposed the idea that the Uighurs were in the same situation as blacks in the American deep south back in the early half of the last century. She then gave me the above example of the family in her neighborhood and said its not so much like that, but more like the plight of native Americans, when white settlers were more interested in their land and resources and moved them out.

We then talked about the whole charade of children dressing up and representing the 56 minority groups during festivals and how its really just for show. She seemed to feel that the dislike, maybe even hatred, that now exists between the two groups is a byproduct of the Han moving in, setting up businesses, and only dealing with Han because the Chinese view the Uighurs as too different. The differences in communication, customs, and religion are just too vast for a Han employer to want to deal with. I'm sure the Uighurs also feel the same bitterness too that Native Americans felt when another race comes onto land they have habitated on for hundreds of years and starts pushing them out.

The more we talked the more frustrated I became. It seemed that there may not have originally been a deep rooted hatred, but certainly it seems to be there now on both sides. Then again, as was the case here in America during the 50's, not everyone views other races the same way. I'm sure there are plenty who hate the Uighurs only because they are different and hopefully there are more level headed portions of the populace that will look beyond race and try to find a solution to a problem that, despite China's apparent approach, isn't simply going to disappear.

Mark said...

Heard this story on NPR a few minutes ago:

It is a story what we're talking about here.

Mark Carver said...

If terrorists were to ply their craft in China, they would certainly achieve what they are aiming for: terror. It doesn't take much to stir up Chinese society, and whether that's from lack of news outlets, collective dependence, insular thinking, or whatever is besides the point. China would absolutely fly off the handle if terrorism became even a tangible possibility, and no one remotely suspect would be spared.