Uighur Jihadism

Uighur jihadism is one of the most understudied sub-topics in our field, so I was thrilled to read this report on the Islamic Party of Turkestan by the independent consultant Kirk Sowell. Don’t be fooled by the lack of an institutional stamp; this is a really strong piece of research – easily the best study I have seen on the topic. The report was published before the seventh issue of Turkistan al-Islamiyya, but you can download the latest issue from one of these links.

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Hittin Magazine: China – Friend or Foe?

The latest issue of Hittin magazine includes an article titled “China – friend or foe?” by Qari Abdulhadi that centers on the “injustice” committed by China on Muslims, which he argues is unprecedented in history. While the details of this injustice have been hidden from the media, the writer maintains that the growing jihadi activities in China, and the struggles of the mujahidin in Afghanistan and Pakistan, have rendered it difficult for China to keep its true face as the “enemy of Islam” hidden from the public. While the author accuses the entire umma of referring to China as a “friend” and “brother”, he singles out Pakistan, where diplomatic relations with China have been given a status “even higher than the Himalayas.” Similarly, when listing the responsibilities of the umma with regards to aiding the mujahidin in East Turkistan, neighboring countries – with special emphasis on Pakistan – are said

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Al-Qa’ida and the Afghan Taliban: “Diametrically Opposed”?

Mullah Omar’s Afghan Taliban and al-Qa’ida’s senior leaders have been issuing some very mixed messages of late, and the online jihadi community is in an uproar, with some calling these developments “the beginning of the end of relations” between the two movements.  Beginning with a statement from Mullah Omar in September, the Afghan Taliban’s Quetta-based leadership has been emphasizing the “nationalist” character of their movement, and has sent several communications to Afghanistan’s neighbors expressing an intent to establish positive international relations.  In what are increasingly being viewed by the forums as direct rejoinders to these sentiments, recent messages from al-Qa’ida have pointedly rejected the “national” model of revolutionary Islamism and reiterated calls for jihad against Afghanistan’s neighbors, especially Pakistan and China.  However interpreted, these conflicting signals raise serious questions about the notion of an al-Qa’ida-Taliban merger. The trouble began with Mullah Omar’s message for ‘Eid al-Fitr, issued on September 19, in

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I have been busy the past two weeks, but the jihadis have been busier. Bin Ladin has issued two audio statements, one proposing practical steps to liberate Palestine and the other about the treacherous government in Somalia. Al-Zawahiri warned against the forthcoming Crusader attack on Sudan, while Mustafa Abu al-Yazid has addressed the people of Pakistan. Abu Umar al-Baghdadi has spoken about the US plan to withdraw from Iraq, but he does not seem to get the same attention from the online community as his colleagues in Afghanistan. Abu Qatada has issued a statement from prison about the decision to extradite him to Jordan. Fatah al-Islam sharia officer Abu Abdallah al-Maqdisi has been taking questions since Monday, but nobody is allowed to ask about Shakir al-Absi or Asad al-Jihad2 (hmm). On the magazine front, Sumud 33  has been out for a little while. Fortunately Sada al-Malahim 8 came out on

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Infighting over Distribution of New Uighur Magazine

The Uighur jihadist group “Islamic Party of Turkestan” (IPT) has published the second issue of its Arabic-language mouthpiece, Turkistan al-Islamiyya (Islamic Turkestan). The distribution of the magazine has become the subject of a bitter argument between the distribution company al-Fajr and the forum Madad al-Suyuf (MS), each accusing the other of having stolen the magazine. In reality the first to distribute the magazine was neither al-Fajr nor Madad al-Suyuf, but rather a Faloja forum member named Abdallah al-Mansur). This is not the first “copyright controversy” involving Madad al-Suyuf. You will recall that MS directed similar accusations against Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad a few weeks ago. As Brynjar pointed out then, we didn’t use to see this type of bickering over copyright in the past. It is hard to say what these latest developments mean. It could simply be that MS is run by pedantic troublemakers. It could also be that the

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Al-Qaeda Cleric Linked to Chinese Terrorist Group

In the past week, there have been a spate of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, the Muslim-majority province in China. On Aug. 4, militants killed 16 police in Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, which is near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. On Sunday, bombers attacked 17 sites in Kuqa, west-central Xianjiang. Although I haven’t seen any claim of responsibility for the attacks, a good candidate is the Islamic Party of Turkistan (IPT), which in recent weeks has been threatening terrorist attacks in China during the Olympic Games.  They have also claimed other recent attacks. Although little is known about the IPT, Aaron Weisburd has done some amazing cyber sleuthing and discovered that the IPT hosted the website of `Abd al-Hakim Hassan. Aaron did not know who Hassan was and neither did the Jihadi ideologues on the elite Hesbah forum. But he knew that Hassan was someone important because al-Qaeda’s media distribution organization,

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