HUFFINGTON POST
08/14/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

China Protests: Al Qaeda Vows Retaliation For Crackdown On Uighurs

UPDATE: ABC News reports that Rebiya Kadeer, the head of the World Uighur Congress who lives in Fairfax, Virginia and was recently blamed by the Chinese government, is saying no thanks to Al Qaeda:

"I do not believe violence is a solution to any problem," Ms Kadeer said in a statement.

"Global terrorists should not take advantage of the Uighur people's legitimate aspirations and the current tragedy in East Turkestan to commit acts of terrorism targeting Chinese diplomatic missions or civilians."

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Among the coterie of groups and nations excoriating China for its crackdown on Muslim Uighur protesters in Xinjiang last week is Al Qaeda, according to a Chinese newspaper and an intelligence report cited by AFP. The threat comes from the Algerian-based Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an Al Qaeda affiliate that recently made news for its threats against France for contemplating a ban on women wearing traditional burqas.

According to the AFP report, AQIM is threatening to attack Chinese workers in Africa. It is the first direct threat against China or Chinese interests by Al Qaeda, according to the intelligence report, which was compiled by the London-based risk analysis firm Stirling Assynt.

From AFP:

"Although AQIM appear to be the first arm of al-Qaeda to officially state they will target Chinese interests, others are likely to follow," the consultancy's report said, according to the Hong Kong newspaper.

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese work in the Middle East and North Africa, including 50,000 in Algeria, the report estimated.

"There is an increasing amount of chatter ... among jihadists who claim they want to see action against China," the report stated. "Some of these individuals have been actively seeking information on China's interests in the Muslim world, which they could use for targeting purposes."

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