East Turkestan Islamic Movement

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This article is about an Islamist-based organization. For the nationalist movement, see East Turkestan independence movement.
Turkestan Islamic Party
Etim tip logo.JPG
Turkistan Islamic Party
Active 1997 – present
Ideology Uyghur nationalism
Sunni Islamism
Islamic fundamentalism
Leaders Hasan Mahsum
Abdul Haq
Abdul Shakoor al-Turkistani
Abdullah Mansour[1]
Headquarters North Waziristan, Pakistan
Area of operations China (Xinjiang)
Pakistan (North Waziristan)
Central Asia
Allies Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
Nusra Front
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan[3]
Eastern Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association (ETESA)[4]
Opponents Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan
Flag of Syria.svg Syria
Flag of Afghanistan.svg Afghanistan
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg Kazakhstan
Flag of Uzbekistan.svg Uzbekistan
Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg Kyrgyzstan

The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) (Arabic:حركة شرق تركستان الإسلامية), also known as the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) (Uyghur:تۈركىستان ئىسلام پارتىيىسى) Ḥizb al-Islāmī li-Turkistān (Arabic:الحزب الإسلامي لتركستان) or Ḥizb al-Islāmī al-Turkistānī (Arabic:الحزب الإسلامي التركستاني), Turkistan Islamic Movement (TIM), and other names,[a] is an Islamic terrorist and separatist organization founded by Uyghur militants in western China. Its stated goals are the independence of East Turkestan from China. According to the Chinese government, it is a violent separatist movement and is often responsible for terrorist attacks in Xinjiang.[5] According to Chinese report, published in 2002, between 1990 to 2001 ETIM had reportedly committed over 200 acts of terrorism, resulting in at least 162 deaths and over 440 injuries.[6] Since the September 11 attacks, the group has been designated as a terrorist organization by Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates,[7] China, and the United States.[8]


"If you do not wage jihad, you will never be able to get rid of the oppression of the infidels which makes you abandon the religion and which makes slaves of you. Thus, you will not be able to be rescued from the oppression of this world and the torments of the hereafter, or find eternal happiness until you return to the religion of Allah. . ." - Abdul Haq (Memetiming Memeti), a commander in the Uyghur separatist movement Turkistan Islamic Party (East Turkestan Islamic Movement), from a video released by TIP, February 9. 2009.[9]

"We have to conquer our own country and purify it of all infidels. Then, we should conquer the infidels’ countries and spread Islam. The infidels who are usurping our countries have announced war against Islam and Muslims, forcing Muslims to abandon Islam and change their beliefs." - Abdullah Mansour, current leader of the Uyghur separatist movement Turkistan Islamic Party (East Turkestan Islamic Movement), from “The Duty of Faith and Support,” Voice of Islam/al-Fajr Media Center, August 26, 2009.[10]

Flag of Turkistan Islamic Party

The area known as Xinjiang had been a protectorate of China as early as 60 BC during the Han dynasty when it was part of the Protectorate of the Western Regions and also a protectorate of Tang dynasty China when it was part of the Protectorate General to Pacify the West, though there are numerous periods of independence from China. The historical area of what is modern day Xinjiang consisted of the distinct areas of the Tarim Basin and Dzungaria, and was originally populated by Indo-European Tocharian and Iranic Saka peoples who practiced the Buddhist religion. The area was subjected to Turkification and Islamification at the hands of invading Turkic Muslims during the Islamicisation and Turkicisation of Xinjiang. In the 18th century the Qing Dynasty reorganized the territory as a province, Xinjiang.[11] Yet, Russian influence was strong. Russian Orthodox Old Believers emigrated from Russia to Xinjiang in the early 19th century, and the Russian Civil War accelerated this immigration by adding white émigrés.[12] During China's warlord era in the 1910s-1920s, the Soviet Union propped up the separatist Second East Turkestan Republic, and only accepted Chinese rule when the Chinese communists established the People's Republic of China after the Chinese Civil War.[13] Nevertheless, the Soviet Union distributed Soviet passports among the Central Asian ethnics in Xinjiang to facilitate emigration to Kazakh SSR.[12] After the Sino-Soviet split, the Soviet Union amassed troops on the Russian border with Xinjiang, and bolstered "East Turkestan" separatist movements, which received moral and material support from other regional militant groups.[14] China accused the Soviets of engineering riots, and improved the military infrastructure there to combat it.[12]

The East Turkestan Islamic Movement was founded in 1993 by two natives of Hotan, but it failed to last to year's end. Hasan Mahsum and Abudukadir Yapuquan reorganized the movement in 1997, in the same form that it exists today.[15] In 1998 Mahsum moved ETIM's headquarters to Kabul, taking shelter under Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, ETIM leaders met with Osama bin Laden and other leaders of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to coordinate actions. There, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement dropped the "East" from its name as it increased its domain.[16] The group's infrastructure was crippled after the United States invaded Afghanistan and bombed Al Qaeda bases in the mountainous regions along the border with Pakistan, during which the leader of ETIM, Hasan Mahsum, was killed.[17]

However, ETIM resurged after the Iraq War inflamed mujaheddin sentiment.[18] It expanded its portfolio to attacks on United States interests, such as the U.S. embassy in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan).[citation needed] The United States Department of State responded by listing it as a terrorist organization.[citation needed] This greatly weakened ETIM, as it lost sympathy from many Western organizations who would otherwise support its struggle against China.[citation needed] Nonetheless, ETIM circulated a video in 2006 calling for a renewed jihad, and took advantage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing to gain publicity for its attacks.[16] The ETIM is said to be allied with the Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek i Taliban Pakistan) leading Pakistan being seriously urged by China to take action against militants.[19]

The new organization called itself the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and abandoned usage of the name ETIM, although China still calls it by the name ETIM and refuses to acknowledge it as TIP.[20] The Turkistan Islamic Party was originally subordinated to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) but then split off and declared its name as TIP and started making itself known by promoting itself with its Islamic Turkistan magazine and Voice of Islam media in Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and Turkish in order to reach out to global jihadists.[21] Control over the Uyghur and Uzbek militants was transferred to the Pakistani Taliban from the Afghan Taliban after 2001, so violence against the militant's countries of origins can no longer restrained by the Afghan Taliban since the Pakistani Taliban does not have a stake in doing so.[22] TIP's Ṣawt al-Islām (Voice of Islam) media arm has released many video messages.[23][24][25][26][27] The full name of their media center is "Turkistan Islamic Party Voice of Islam Media Center" Uyghur: (تۈركىستان ئىسلام پارتىيىسى ئىسلام ئاۋازى تەشۋىقات مەركىزى) Arabic: («المركز الإعلامي للحزب الإسلامي التركستاني «صوت الإسلام).

The Uyghur East Turkestan Islamic Movement's magazine Islamic Turkistan has accused the Chinese "Muslim Brotherhood" Yihewani of being responsible for the moderation of Hui Muslims and the lack of Hui joining terrorist jihadist groups in addition to blaming other things for the lack of Hui Jihadists, such as the fact that for more than 300 years Hui and Uyghurs have been enemies of each other, no separatist Islamist organizations among the Hui, the fact that the Hui view China as their home, and the fact that the "infidel Chinese" language is the language of the Hui.[28][29]

Al-Qaeda support[edit]

Flag of Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria

The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (Turkistan Islamic Party) is allied with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan[3] along with the Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek i Taliban Pakistan)[30] and Al-Qaeda.[31][32]

Al Qaeda appointed TIP (ETIM) member Abdul Haq al Turkistani to their Shura Majlis.[33] Al Qaeda also appointed TIP (ETIM) member Abdul Shakoor Turkistani as military commander of their forces in the FATA region of Pakistan.[34]

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released a statement supporting Jihad in Xinjiang against Chinese, in the Caucasus against the Russians and naming Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan as places of warfare.[35] Zawahiri endorsed "jihad to liberate every span of land of the Muslims that has been usurped and violated, from Kashgar to Andalusia, and from the Caucasus to Somalia and Central Africa".[36] Uyghurs inhabit Kashgar, the city which was mentioned by Zawahiri.[37]

TIP released an image showing Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri meeting with Hasan Mahsum, the original and first leader of the Turkistan Islamic Party.[38][39] For a while after he died, Osama bin Laden's successor was believed by some to be the ETIM leader Abdul Shakoor Turkistani because jihadist organizations have been powerfully influenced by ETIM.[40]

TIP (ETIM) issued a eulogy for Doku Umarov of the Caucasian Emirate upon his death.[41][42][43][44][45]

Al-Qaeda ideologue Mustafa Setmariam Nasar wrote in support of the East Turkestan Independence Movement.[46] In 2006 Kavkaz Center reported that Al-Qaeda media arm Al-Fajr released a video urging Muslims to go on Jihad in support of the East Turkestan Independence Movement.[47]

The TIP has some members of other ethnicities besides the Uighur, a TIP suicide bomber in Afghanistan who attacked American troops was Nuruddin, a Turkish militant and he advocated that Turks and Uighurs mount "Islamic flags at the White House and Beijing's Tiananmen Square" while a TIP Kazakh member named Uspan Batir made an appearance in a video and said There is a line artificially drawn by the infidel in between us--saying you are from Kazakhstan, Turkistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan--there is a line drawn artificially by the infidel, my brothers . . . The religion never came only to Kazakhs, it did not come only to Uighurs, and it did not come only to Arabs . . . Do not separate. Allah said, you do not separate to say that ‘you are Kazakhstan, you are Turkistan and you are Uzbekistan.’[21] TIP's "Islamic Turkistan" magazine praised the Taliban and "mujahideen" for what it called the "humiliating" of America in Afghanistan and boasted that American suffered over 17 billion dollars of damage of "physical and military losses" and "ten thousand soldiers" dead at the hands of Arab and non-Arab "mujahideen".[48]

The Turkish TIP suicide bomber Nuruddin called for expulsion of "Crusader" and "Buddhist" "infidels", and called "Andalusia, East Turkistan, Chechyna, South Africa" as "lands of Islam".[49][50][51]

The Turkistan Islamic Party issued condolences for Taliban leader Mullah Omar upon his death.[52][53][54]

The Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria uses the Jihadist Shahada flag with the name of the group in Arabic below the shahada: (الحزب الإسلامي التركستاني لنصرة أهل الشام) "Turkistan Islamic Party for the Support of the People of al-Sham". TIP in Syria also calls itself by the name of "Turkistan Islamic Party in the land of al-Sham" (الحزب الإسلامي التركستاني في بلاد الشام). A Jabhat al Nusra member named Abu Rabah helped Uyghur militants start their first camp in Syria and a Turkish language website based in Turkey was launched to recruit "Uyghur mujahideen" to fight in Syria for the Al-Qaeda affiliated Uyghur Turkistan Islamic Party.[55] TIP (ETIM) sent the "Turkistan Brigade" (Katibat Turkistani) (Arabic:كتيبة تركستاني) to take part in the Syrian Civil War,[2][56][57][58] most noticeably in the 2015 Jisr al-Shughur offensive.[59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66] Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria include the Syrian branch of the Chechen Caucasus Emirate, Uzbek militants, and the Turkistan Islamic Party.[67] The leader of TIP (ETIM) in Syria was Abu Rida al-Turkestani (أبو رضا التركستاني).[68][69][70][71] Abu Rida Al-Turkestani gave a speech during the offensive in Jisr al-Shughur inviting "Muslims" from "East Turkestan" to come to Sham in order to "kill" "Nusayris" (Alawites).[72] Abu Rida al-Turkestani gave a speech denouncing America and claiming Muslims are oppressed "in the land of Afghanistan, and in Turkestan, and in Waziristan, and in Burma, and in Bilad ash-Sham"[73] In May 2015 in Jisr al-Shugour the Syrian army killed Abu Rida al-Turkestani near a hospital.[74][75][76][77] TIP (ETIM) members in Syria fight alongside the Al-Qaeda branch Al Nusrah Front since TIP is allied to Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan and conducted suicide bombings for Nusrah Front.[78][79] The Turkistan Islamic Party (Uighur), Al-Katibat al-Tawhid wal Jihad (Uzbek) and Junud al-Sham (Chechen) all coordinate with Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra in Syria.[80][81] Members of TIP have been killed in battle in Syria.[82] TIP (ETIM) eulogized and applauded members of its organization who participated in suicide bombings and members who were killed in action in Jisr al Shughur.[83] Members of the group helped other Jihadists enforce religious law in Idlib such as wrecking alcohol in stores and this was noted that with “support of Allah and by the strike of the fist of the Mujahideen from the Al Nusrah Front, Ahrar al Sham and Turkistan,” that they undertook these actions by a Syrian Jihadist in Jaysh al Fateh.[84] A Jabhat Al Nusra Jihadist called Abu Mohamed Al-Ansari interviewed by VICE News after the Idlib offensive said that "The battle was good, praise be to God. The brothers from all the groups started working together and coordinating. Each faction is responsible for a side. The majority were immigrant brothers from Turkestan. They are the ones who attacked the important points."[85][86] The spokesman of Jabhat Al-Nusra Abu Maria al-Qahtani claimed that Muslims were "oppressed" in "Turkestan" and that Nusra needs to "defend" them.[87][88] TIP (ETIM) joined in on the Jihadist offensive in the Al-Ghab plain along with Al-Qaeda affiliated Jund al Aqsa against the Syrian army, referring to the Syrian army by the disparaging name "Nusayri".[89][90] In Idlib four villages were seized by the Turkistan Islamic Party around August 2015.[91] and the TIP said they "met with the brothers in Jund al Aqsa".[92] The villages of Al-Ziyarah, Mishk, and Tal Wassit were taken by the TIP in August 2015 and TIP boasted that "With the favor of Allah and his support our Mujahideen brothers took war booty from the infidels" (بفضل الله ونصره إخواننا المجاهدون أخذوا الغنائم من الكفار).[93][94][95][96] TIP also seized the village of Zayzun in August.[97] The village Qarqur was also taken by the TIP.[98][99][100][101][102] A BMP was destroyed by TIP at Qarqur.[103] The village of Mansura, Hama fell to the TIP which released a video showing battlefield wreckage and boasted that "these are the BMPs and the tanks of the infidels destroyed by the Mujahideen". (هذه ب م ب والدبابات للكفار دمرت من قبل المجاهدين).[104] The villages of Muhambal, Msheirfeh, and Farikah fell to the TIP.[105] The villages of Tal Himka (Tal Hamkeh), Tal Awar (تل عوار), Ziadiyah (زياديه) and Mahattat Zayzun w:ar:المحطة الحرارية (زيزون) fell to the TIP.[106][107] The Turkistan Islamic Party and Jabhat Al-Nusra launched a joint operation which overran the Syrian military's Abu Dhuhur airbase during the Siege of Abu al-Duhur Airbase.[108][109][110][111][112][113][114][115][116][117][118][119][120][121][122][123][124] The Turkistan Islamic Party released photos of their Uyghur fighters at Abu Dhuhur.[125][126][127][128][129][130][131][132][133][134][135][136][137][138] At Abu Dhuhur, Sheikh Muhaysini (an Al-Qaeda linked Saudi cleric) took pictures with Turkistan Islamic Party which was released by Islam Awazi.[139] Syrian regime military prisoners from Abu Dhuhur were exhibited in photos released by the Turkistan Islamic Party.[140] A video released by Turkistan Islamic Party featured Junud al-Sham deputy leader Abu Bakr al Shishani.[141] The Turkistan Islamic Party's Islam Awazi released photos of its fighters in Syria.[142] TIP's Islam Awazi released photos of its fighters in Al Ghab on the battlefield with captions saying "Frontlines of the Turkistani Mujahideen against the Nusayri Army" (رباط المجاهدين التركستانيين ضد الجيش النصيري) and "The Turkistani Mujahideen challenging in its power the Nusayri Army and before the Russians" (المجاهدين التركستانيين يتصدى بقوة للجيش النصيري ومن قبل الروس).[143]

TIP's Islam Awazi media arm released photos of its members who carried out suicide bombings, Dadullah Turkistani[144][145] and Abdulbasit (Turguncan) Turkistani.[146] The TIP released pictures of dead Syrian soldiers they killed.[147]

A mass execution of 56 captured Syrian soldiers was carried out by the Turkestan Islamic Party along with Jabhat al-Nusra at Abu al-Duhur.[148][149][150][151][152][153][154][155]

Uyghurs operate two Jihadist training camps in Syria.[156] On 17 August 2013 the website Jihadology posted the March 2013 issue of TIP's Islamic Turkistan Arabic: (تركستان الإسلامية) Uyghur: (ئىسلامى تۈركىستان) magazine in which TIP displayed its fighters and their families, wives, and children in Syria on the side of the rebels.[157][158]

One of Sayfullakh Shishani's fighters in Jabhat al-Nusra claimed that a united faction called al-Muhajireen was formed out of the unification of the Uyghur Turkistan, Uzbek Abu Salyaha and Al-Bukhari, Ahlu Sunnah wal-Jama'a, and Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar.[159]

Katiba Turkistan joined with Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Junud al-Sham against the Syrian army in the battle for Jisr al-Shughur.[160]

Arab news agencies reported that the Uyghurs in TIP, the Chechens in Junud Al Sham, Jabhat Al Nusra and Ahrar al Sham are being coordinated by Turkish intelligence to work with the Army of Conquest.[161][162][163]

Syrian Churches have been demolished by Turkistan Islamic Party Uyghur fighters, who exalted in the acts of destruction, and in Homs and Idlib battlefields the Turkistan Islamic Party cooperated with Uzbek brigades and Jabhat al-Nusra, Jabhat al-Nusra and IS (ISIL) compete with each other to recruit Uyghur fighters.[164] In Jisr al-Shughur a Church's cross had a TIP flag placed on top of it after the end of the battle.[165][166][167][168]

The Turkistan Islamic Party has participated in besieging the Shiite villages Fua’a and Kafriyeh.[169][170]

Turkish connections were used by Uyghur fighters to go into Syria and the humanitarian Uyghur Eastern Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association (ETESA) which is located in Turkey sent Uyghurs into Syria, endorsed the killing of the pro-China Imam Juma Tayir, applauded attacks in China, and posted on its website content from the TIP.[171] Turkish passports were used by Uyghurs who were seeking to contact Mujahidin Indonesia Timor, a pro-ISIS organization in Sulawesi in Indonesia.[172]

After Thailand deported Uyghurs back to China whom China suspected to have "been on their way to Turkey, Syria or Iraq to join jihad" , John Kirby, a United States State Department spokesman, slammed the move and said Thailand should "allow those remaining ethnic Uighurs to depart voluntarily to a country of their choice".[173] TIP's "Islamic Turkistan" Twitter account condemned the deportation and called China and Thailand as "polytheist enemies of Allah" (أعداء الله المشركين).[174]

TIP's Islam Awazi encouraged entire Uyghur families including women and children to emigrate abroad to perform "Jihad".[175][176][177][178]

On a communique dated to Wednesday, 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah 1436 Hijra TIP's Islam Awazi media arm stated that This year is drawing to a close and we thank Allah for what He has blessed us with conquests, victories, and glory. 'We your brothers the Mujahideen of Turkistan are continuing in the liberation of the land of al-Sham and proceeding in our jihad for the sake of Allah to liberate every last inch of the land of al-Sham, with permission from Allah.[179][180][181][182][183][184][185][186][187][188]

As part of an effort to reach out to foreign Muslims, on the Ink of Swords (Medad al-Sayouf) Network, an Arabic language magazine titled "Islamic Turkistan" (Turkistan al-Islamia) (تركستان الإسلامية) was issued by ETIM on January 2009 and it described ETIM as "a group of workers for Islam and the mujahideen in the Cause of Allah in order to liberate Turkistan", and said that the aim of ETIM was to "establish an Islamic Caliphate in the light of the Book and the Sunnah", "in the Cause of Allah, promotion of virtue, prevention of vice, and the call to Allah.", to create an Islamic State by means of jihad.[9]

Fellow Al-Qaeda aligned Islamist organizations with the aim of a worldwide Islamic Caliphate cooperate with TIP (ETIM) whose own goal is an Islamic State, with TIP fighting against the militaries of Syria and Pakistan in addition to China and being assisted by Central Asian, Gulf, European, and North American based outfits and the TIP leader Abdullah Mansour used the words "mujahideen" and "jihadi operation" in a Uighur language video produced by TIP's Islam Awazi (Uyghur: ئىسلام ئاۋازى) Ṣawt al-Islām (Arabic:صوت الإسلام) Media Center when TIP took responsibility for the 29 October 2013 Tianmen Square terrorist attack.[189]

Islam Awazi released a video called "We Are Coming O Buddhists” (نحن قادمون أيّها البوذيون) of a TIP affiliated Rohingya cleric named Sheikh Abu Dhar ‘Azzam (أبو ذر عزام) (Abu Dhar al-Burmi) who also called for the killing of Buddhists in addition to Chinese, saying in Arabic that "Killing you... Slaughtering you... And cutting off your heads is all good", "Kill you, spill your blood, cut off your head is a good thing", the unedited message said "We are Muslims, and you are our enemies oh Buddhists and Chinese: You will not see us and killing you, and spilling your blood, and cutting your heads of: all of it is good, insha Allah" ( نحن مسلمون، ولو كنتم أعداءنا أيُّها البوذيون والصينيون: لن تروا منا إلا خيرًا، وقتلكم وإسالة دمائكم، وقطع رؤوسكم: كله خير إن شاء الله.ـ) on 24 February 2014, he also said "we are a nation that loves death while you are a nation that loves wine and women, and we are coming insha Allah, we want to kill Buddhists to the east of this land and to the west of it". ( إننا قوم نحب الموت كما تحبون الخمر والنساء، وإننا قادمون إن شاء الله، نحن نريد أن نقتل البوذيين في شرق الأرض وغربها.ـ), he also said "those Chinese Buddhists, their small eyes, flat noses. Judgment day will not come, until we attacked them. Judgment day will not come, until we slaughter them. Judgment day will not come, until our war with them and attacking them." ( وأوصيكم بأن هؤلاء الصينيين البوذيين صغار الأعين فطس الأنوف: لا تقوم الساعة حتى نقاتلهم، لا تقوم الساعة حتى نذبحهم، لا تقوم الساعة حتى نتلاحم معهم، ونقاتل ضدهم.ـ)[190][191] In the Turkistan Islamic Party's Turkestan Al-Islamiyya magazine, Issue 13, Abu Dhar 'Azzam (Abu Dhar Al-Burmi) congratulated the Tsarnaev brothers on their terrorist attack in the Boston Marathon bombing, saying In the very house of unbelief, two Chechen brothers destroyed the infidels' fortresses on April 16, 2013. During the [ensuing] search [by the authorities for the perpetrators], the elder brother died as a martyr in the field of glory and honor, Allah willing. The younger brother, Dzokhar, remained, and told his dear nation: 'We did this operation as revenge for what America does in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan.' He didn't mention his homeland Chechnya, since this jihad is a jihad of [an entire] nation, not [a campaign] for the liberation of a single land.... The Muslims' lands are one and their honor is one.[192][193][194] Abu Dhar Azzam called upon Muslims to attack Germany, China, and Burma, saying : Rise O servants of Allah to help your brothers and sisters!, Rise to save your sons and daughters! Do your best in jihad, O guardians of creed and [monotheism], against the enemies of Allah the idolatrous Buddhists, and target the most important installations of Burma, China and Germany, and their interests and the interests of the United Nations, which supports these massacres and this genocide in Arakan.[195] Abu Dhar ‘Azzam featured in a video released by TIP titled “We Have To Empower Islam In the Depths Of Our Hearts”.[196][197][198][199]

The Hadith collection Sahih al-Bukhari records a Sahih Hadith by Muhammad on the Turks- Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Turks; people with small eyes, red faces, and flat noses. Their faces will look like shields coated with leather. The Hour will not be established till you fight with people whose shoes are made of hair." (حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا يَعْقُوبُ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، عَنْ صَالِحٍ، عَنِ الأَعْرَجِ، قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تُقَاتِلُوا التُّرْكَ صِغَارَ الأَعْيُنِ، حُمْرَ الْوُجُوهِ، ذُلْفَ الأُنُوفِ، كَأَنَّ وُجُوهَهُمُ الْمَجَانُّ الْمُطَرَّقَةُ، وَلاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تُقَاتِلُوا قَوْمًا نِعَالُهُمُ الشَّعَرُ ".)[200] Another Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith says Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "The Hour will not be established till you fight a nation wearing hairy shoes, and till you fight the Turks, who will have small eyes, red faces and flat noses; and their faces will be like flat shields. And you will find that the best people are those who hate responsibility of ruling most of all till they are chosen to be the rulers. And the people are of different natures: The best in the pre-lslamic period are the best in Islam. A time will come when any of you will love to see me rather than to have his family and property doubled."(حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْيَمَانِ، أَخْبَرَنَا شُعَيْبٌ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الزِّنَادِ، عَنِ الأَعْرَجِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ " لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تُقَاتِلُوا قَوْمًا نِعَالُهُمُ الشَّعَرُ، وَحَتَّى تُقَاتِلُوا التُّرْكَ، صِغَارَ الأَعْيُنِ، حُمْرَ الْوُجُوهِ، ذُلْفَ الأُنُوفِ كَأَنَّ وُجُوهَهُمُ الْمَجَانُّ الْمُطْرَقَةُ ". "«وَتَجِدُونَ مِنْ خَيْرِ النَّاسِ أَشَدَّهُمْ كَرَاهِيَةً لِهَذَا الأَمْرِ، حَتَّى يَقَعَ فِيهِ، وَالنَّاسُ مَعَادِنُ، خِيَارُهُمْ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ خِيَارُهُمْ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ." "وَلَيَأْتِيَنَّ عَلَى أَحَدِكُمْ زَمَانٌ لأَنْ يَرَانِي أَحَبُّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَهْلِهِ وَمَالِهِ.").[201] A Sahih Hadith is also found in Sunan Nasai - It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "The Hour will not begin until the Muslims fight the Turks, a people with faces like hammered shields who wear clothes made of hair and shoes made of hair." (أَخْبَرَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَعْقُوبُ، عَنْ سُهَيْلٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ " لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يُقَاتِلَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ التُّرْكَ قَوْمًا وُجُوهُهُمْ كَالْمَجَانِّ الْمُطَرَّقَةِ يَلْبَسُونَ الشَّعَرَ وَيَمْشُونَ فِي الشَّعَرِ " .)[202] A Sahih Hadith is also found in Abu Dawud- Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet (May peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight with the Turks, a people whose faces look as if they were shields covered with skin, and who will wear sandals of hair. (حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ، حَدَّثَنَا يَعْقُوبُ، - يَعْنِي الإِسْكَنْدَرَانِيَّ - عَنْ سُهَيْلٍ، - يَعْنِي ابْنَ أَبِي صَالِحٍ - عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ " لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يُقَاتِلَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ التُّرْكَ قَوْمًا وُجُوهُهُمْ كَالْمَجَانِّ الْمُطْرَقَةِ يَلْبَسُونَ الشَّعْرَ " .)[203]

In 2013 Islam Awazi released footage of Uyghur TIP members fighting against the Afghan National Army.[204] Islam Awazi released a video of fighters training in eastern Afghanistan.[205] A video released by Islam Awazi showed TIP members ambushing a bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan which was unarmed.[206] One video released by Islam Awazi showed one of their members being knocked over by the SPG-9 he was firing, accompanied by the phrase Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un in Arabic.[207] TIP released old photos of Uyghur fighters in Afghanistan during the Taliban's rule.[208][209] TIP released photos of dead Afghan soldiers they killed.[210]

Islam Awazi released photos of a Turkistan Islamic Party training camp.[211]

Images of Uyghur Turkistan Islamic Party fighters in Syria were released by Islam Awazi.[212] The Turkistan Islamic Party released photos showing a Uyghur media team with their camera and laptop in Syria.[213]

TIP released a video titled “Message to the Mujāhidīn of the Caucasus”.[214]

TIP released a video titled “Advice to Our Muslim Brothers in Turkey”.[215][216]

The TIP in Syria released a video series called "Lovers of Paradise".[217][218]

The TIP in Syria released a video series called "Blessings for the strangers" (طوبى للغرباء).[184][219][220][221][222][223][224][225][226][227][228] In the second video of the series, the leader of TIP in Syria Abu Rida al-Turkestani read out a document with an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) letterhead, detailing the history of the founding of the Turkistan Islamic Party by Hasan Mahsum and "East Turkstani immigrants" when they moved to Taliban controlled Afghanistan, gave allegiance to Mullah Omar and founded the organization.[222]

The TIP in Syria released a series of photographs titled "Pictures from the land of the Epic Battles (Malaahim)" (صور من أرض الملاحم).[229][230][231][232][233][234][235][236][237][238] TIP also released photographs under the Turkish title "Nadir Suretler".[239][240][241][242][243][244][245]

TIP's Islam Awazi released a "Visual Nasheed" (النشيد المرئي) titled "Wake Up Oh Muslim Ummah" (استيقظي يا أمة الإسلام).[246][247][248][249][250] The end of the nasheed video featured TIP fighters burning a Syrian flag, the burning of a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and footage of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, with the Uyghur language subtitles of the nasheed referring to the "Kafirlar" (كافرلار) (infidels) when the destruction of the World Trade Center towers was shown on the video.[251][252][253]

TIP's Islam Awazi released a "Visual Nasheed" (النشيد المرئي) titled "Return to Your Religion" (إرجع الى دينك).[254][255][256][257][258][259][260]

It was announced that TIP's "Voice of Islam" media would be solely released on Twitter, Shamoukh, and Fida'a via the "Global Islamic Media Front".[261][262][263]

TIP released a Nasheed “If I Was Killed”.[264][265]

TIP released a Nasheed “Told From Me, Oh My Father”.[266][267]

TIP released a Nasheed “Your Giving to the Lord”.[268][269]

TIP released a Nasheed “You Should Realize, Oh His Mother, Verily Your Son Is In the Way of God”.[270][271]

TIP released a Nasheed “Lions of Turkistān”.[272][273]

Use of Burqas[edit]

Islam Awazi released a video showing Burqa clad women being militarily trained by the Turkistan Islamic Party with guns and RPGs.[274][275][276][277]

Child soldiers[edit]

Camps training children for Jihad are being run by the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria.[278] Photos of the child military training camps in Syria were released by the Turkistan Islamic Party, who labelled the children as "little mujahideen".[279][280][281] Uyghur child soldiers being instructed in Sharia and training with guns were depicted in a video released by TIP.[282][283][284][285][286][287]

Photos of a training camp for Uyghur children run by the Turkistan Islamic Party were released by Islam Awazi.[288][289][290][291] Photos released by Turkistan Islamic Party's Islam Awazi media which showed Uyghur militants along with Uyghur children in Syria, including one child holding an AK-47, the Uyghurs cooperated with Jabhat Al-Nusra and had pledged alleigance (bay'ah) to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.[292] Another photo released by Islam Awazi showed Uyghur children training with AK-47's and with shahada headbands at a camp in the Afpak (Afghanistan-Pakistan) region.[293] Pictures were released by Islam Awazi of Afghanistan-based Turkistan Islamic Party training children for Jihad.[294] A video of a training camp in Waziristan in Pakistan's tribal areas showing children being trained with weapons was released by the Turkistan Islamic Party's Islam Awazi.[295]

Pictures of Uyghur girls wearing Hijab and posing with guns were posted by the Turkistan Islamic Party's Islam Awazi.[229][234][296][297][298]

Photos released by TIP's Islam Awazi showed Uyghur children in Idlib, Syria, with AK-47s, reading Qurans, and Burqa clad women praying.[299] The child soldiers were also shown engaging in religious studies.[300]

The village of Az-Zanbaqi (الزنبقي) in Jisr al-Shughur's countryside has become a base for a massive amount of Uyghur Turkistan Islamic Party militants and their families in Syria, estimated at around 3,500, military camps in the area are training hundreds of children from these families; Hezbollah media, Iranian media and Syrian government media accused Turkish intelligence of being involved in transporting these Uyghurs via Turkey to Syria, with the aim of using them first in Syria to help Jabhat Al-Nusra and gain combat experience fighting against the Syrian Army before sending them back to Xinjiang to fight against China if they manage to survive.[301][302][303][304][305][306][307][308][309][310][311][312][313][314][315][316][317][318][319][320]


The NEFA Foundation, an American terrorist analyst foundation, translated and released a jihad article from ETIM, whose membership it said consisted primarily of "Uyghur Muslims from Western China." The East Turkestan Islamic Movement's primary goal is the independence of East Turkestan.[321] ETIM continues this theme of contrasting "Muslims" and "Chinese", in a six-minute video in 2008, where "Commander Seyfullah" warns Muslims not to bring their children to the 2008 Summer Olympics, and also saying "do not stay on the same bus, on the same train, on the same plane, in the same buildings, or any place the Chinese are".[322]

Terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna has said that ETIM is closely associated with the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), and that there are "many sympathizers and supporters" of ETIM in the WUC. China has accused the WUC of orchestrating the 2009 ethnic violence in Urumqi; similarly, Gunaratna said that one of ETIM's aims is to "fuel hatred" and violence between the Han and the Uyghur ethnic groups, adding that it represented a threat to China and the Central Asia region as a whole.[323]


In October 2008, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security released a list of eight terrorists linked to ETIM, including some of the leadership, with detailed charges.[324] They are:

Name Aliases Charges Whereabouts
Memetiming Memeti Abdul Haq Leading the organization, inciting ethnic tensions in 2006 and 2007, buying explosives, organizing terrorist attacks against the 2008 Summer Olympics Killed in North Waziristan drone attack[325]
Emeti Yakuf
(Emet Yakuf)
Aibu Abudureheman, Saifula, Abdul Jabar Threatening to use biological and chemical weapons against servicepeople and Western politicians for the 2008 Olympics, disseminating manuals on explosives and poisons Killed in North Waziristan drone attack[326]
Memetituersun Yiming
(Memet Tursun Imin)
Abuduaini Raised funds for ETIM, tested bombs in the run-up to the Olympics Since 2008, Western Asia
Memetituersun Abuduhalike
(Memet Tursun Abduxaliq)
Metusun Abuduhalike, Ansarui, Naijimuding Attacked government organizations, money laundering for ETIM operations, buying vehicles and renting houses for attacks Unknown
Xiamisidingaihemaiti Abudumijiti
(Xemsidinahmet Abdumijit)
Saiyide Recruiting for ETIM in the Middle East, blew up a Chinese supermarket Unknown
Aikemilai Wumaierjiang
(Akrem Omerjan)
Assisted Xiamisidingaihemaiti Abudumijiti in the supermarket attack Unknown
Yakuf Memeti
(Yakuf Memet)
Abudujilili Aimaiti, Abudula, Punjab Sneaked into China illegally to gather information on Chinese neighborhoods, a failed suicide attack against oil refinery Killed in North Waziristan drone attack[327]
Tuersun Toheti
(Tursun Tohti)
Mubaixier, Nurula Organizing a terror team for the 2008 Olympics, buying raw materials for them and requesting chemical formulas for explosives Killed in North Waziristan drone attack[327]

Guantanamo Bay detainees[edit]

The United States captured 22 Uyghur militants from combat zones in Afghanistan in 2006 on information that they were linked to Al-Qaeda.[328] They were imprisoned without trial for five to seven years, where they testified that they were trained by ETIM leader Abdul Haq, at an ETIM training camp. After being reclassified as No Longer Enemy Combatant,[329] a panel of judges ordered them released into the United States. Despite the alarm of politicians that the release of terrorist camp-trained Uyghurs into the United States was unsafe and illegal, they could not be released back to China because of its human rights record.[330] Some of the Uyghurs have been transferred to Palau, and some to Bermuda despite objections by the United Kingdom, but the United States is having difficulties finding governments who will accept the rest.[331]


In 2007, ETIM militants in cars shot Chinese nationals in Pakistani Balochistan and sent a videotape of the attack to Beijing, in retaliation for an execution of an ETIM official earlier that July.[332] ETIM also took credit for a spate of attacks before the 2008 Summer Olympics, including a series of bus bombings in Kunming, an attempted plane hijacking in Urumqi,[329] and an attack on paramilitary troops in Kashgar that killed 17 officers.[333] On 29 June 2010, a court in Dubai convicted two members of an ETIM cell of plotting to bomb a government-owned shopping mall that sold Chinese goods. This was the ETIM plot outside of China or Central Asia. The key plotter was recruited during Hajj and was flown to Waziristan to train.[334] In July 2010, officials in Norway interrupted a terrorist bomb plot, another instance of ETIM branching out of its original regions and cooperating with international groups. New York Times correspondent Edward Wong says that ETIM "give[s] them a raison d'être at a time when the Chinese government has... defused any chance of a widespread insurgency... in Xinjiang."[333]

In October 2013, a suicide attack in Tiananmen Square caused 5 deaths and 38 injuries. Chinese police described it as the first terrorist attack in Beijing's recent history. Turkistan Islamic Party later claimed responsibility for the attack.[335][336]

Responsibility for the April 2014 Ürümqi attack was claimed by the Turkistan Islamic Party.[337][338]


Critics say that the threats ETIM itself makes are exaggerated, and that ETIM embellishes its own image and commits psychological warfare against China for its false threats, including forcing it to increase security. Dru C. Gladney, an authority on Uyghurs, said that there was "a credibility gap" about the group since the majority of information on ETIM "was traced back to Chinese sources", and that that some believe ETIM to be part of a US-China quid pro quo, where China supported the US-led War on Terror, and "support of the US for the condemnation of ETIM was connected to that support."[339] The Uyghur American Association has publicly doubted the ETIM's existence.[340]

On 16 June 2009, Representative Bill Delahunt convened hearings to examine how organizations were added to the US blacklist in general, and how the ETIM was added in particular.[341] Uyghur expert Sean Roberts testified that the ETIM was new to him, that it wasn't until it was blacklisted that he heard of the group, and noted that "it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the organization no longer exists at all."[341][dead link] The Congressional Research Service reported that the first published mention of the group was in the year 2000, but that China attributed attacks to it that had occurred up to a decade earlier.[341][dead link]

Stratfor has noted repeated unexplained attacks on Chinese buses in 2008 have followed a history of ETIM targeting Chinese infrastructure, and noted the group's splintering and subsequent reorganization following the death of Mahsum.[342]

Intelligence analysts J. Todd Reed and Diana Raschke acknowledge that reporting in China presents obstacles not found in countries where information is not so tightly controlled. However, they found that ETIM's existence and activities could be confirmed independently of Chinese government sources, using information gleaned from ETIM's now-defunct website, reports from human rights groups and academics, and testimony from the Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Reed & Raschke also question the information put out by Uyghur expatriates that deny ETIM's existence or impact, as the Uyghurs who leave Xinjiang are those who object most to government policy, are unable to provide first-hand analysis, and have an incentive to exaggerate repression and downplay militancy. They say that ETIM was "obscure but not unknown" before the September 11 attacks, citing "Western, Russian, and Chinese media sources" that have "documented the ETIM's existence for nearly 20 years".[343]

Designation as a terrorist group[edit]

Countries and organizations below have officially listed the Turkestan Islamic Movement as a terrorist group.

Country Date References
 Russia 2006 [344]

After the 9/11 attacks, ETIM was placed on the United States' Terrorist Exclusion List, which includes organizations conducting terrorist activities.[8]

The group was also classified as 'terrorist' by the following:

See also[edit]


  • ^a The official name of the organization since 1999 is the "Turkistan Islamic Movement", but in English it is known by its old name and acronym, ETIM.[16][322] Other aliases adopted over the years are "East Turkistan Islamic Party", "Allah Party", and "East Turkistan National Revolution Association".[351]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Reed, J. Todd; Raschke, Diana (2010). The ETIM: China's Islamic Militants and the Global Terrorist Threat. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. ISBN 978-0-313-36540-9

External links[edit]