Monday, September 08, 2008

Islamists Threatening Xinjiang

The United States is missing an opportunity to team with China against radical Islam. The reason: State Department sympathy for so-called moderate Muslim militants in Xinjiang.

On August 28th, at a summit in Tajikistan, Chinese President Hu Jintao told fellow leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which groups China, Russia and four Central Asian countries, that members should “deepen cooperation” in their fight against the “three evil forces” of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism.

Analysts say Muslim separatist and possibly Al Qaeda-associated groups in Xinjiang are responsible for recent violent incidents there and are also organizing new terrorist attacks.

The group most deeply committed to waging a terror campaign in Xinjiang is the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

In 2001, China described the ETIM as a “major component” of Osama Binladen’s network. Earlier this year, Chinese officials said the ETIM had been plotting attacks against the Olympics.

A group calling itself the Turkestan Islamic Party--believed to be an ETIM front--released videos claiming responsibility for bus explosions in Shanghai in May and the south-western city of Kunming in July.

China has wisely imposed strict rules for Ramadan observance in Xinjiang. Click here. No doubt, the US State Department will condemn China for taking measures to protect the public and assure security and stability in the face of fanaticism.