“Permission to fight has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory..” — Qur’an 22:39
“Tiananmen Attack Linked to Police Raid on a Mosque in Xinjiang,” by Andrew Jacobs for the New York Times, November 7:
Could the attackers responsible for a deadly assault on the heart of the Chinese capital on Oct. 28 have been motivated by revenge? That is the theory offered up by a former local official from the hometown of Usmen Hasan, the man identified by the Chinese police as the driver of a car that struck and killed two tourists before going up in flames at Tiananmen Square.
Mr. Hasan, his wife and his mother — all of them ethnic Uighurs from the far western region of Xinjiang “” died at the scene, according to the official media.
In a telephone interview with Radio Free Asia on Wednesday, Hamut Turdi, the former chief of Yengi Aymaq village in southwestern Xinjiang, described a police raid last year during which the authorities demolished parts of a new mosque that Mr. Hasan had helped finance.
After deeming the addition illegal, he said the government dispatched a demolition crew, backed by 100 armed police officers, who cut off the building’s water supply and destroyed an enclosed area for preparing ritual burials.
“I think it is highly possible that Usmen Hesen did this to take revenge for our villagers,” Mr. Turdi told Radio Free Asia, which is financed by the United States government. In the aftermath of the incident, Mr. Turdi says he was dismissed as village chief after 22 years in the position. A man who picked up the phone on Thursday at the local police headquarters declined to comment.
The account by a well-placed former official, albeit one with a possible ax to grind, potentially complicates the Chinese government’s efforts to brand the attack on Tiananmen Square as a strike by Islamic separatists who it says were directed by overseas jihadists. Although they have offered little in the way of proof, senior Chinese leaders as well as the official news media have sought to blame the attack on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a shadowy group whose ability to strike within China has been questioned by some Western analysts.
In recent days, China has launched a propagandistic fusillade against those who question its central narrative. When CNN and The Wall Street Journal ran commentaries criticizing the lack of transparency surrounding the events and raising the possibility that repressive policies in Xinjiang might have played a role, Communist Party-affiliated news outlets like Global Times, Xinhua and China Daily ran editorials calling them “vile,” “biased” and “way out of line.”
On Monday, the government expanded its attack, criticizing the White House’s apparent reluctance to label the incident an act of terrorism, at least during State Department briefings in which a spokesperson was pointedly asked to do so, according to Xinhua. In a commentary published on Thursday, the news agency accused the United States of maintaining a “double standard” on terrorism, and thus “condoning” terrorist attacks on Chinese soil. “To rationalize terrorism is to invite more of it,” Xinhua wrote.
No doubt about that. And whatever the U.S. government’s stance toward China may be, there is no doubt that it is reluctant to label acts of jihad “terrorism” — witness the ongoing denial about the Fort Hood jihad murders in 2009.