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ISIS Boosts Attempts to Recruit in China by Releasing Propaganda Song Urging Chinese Muslims to 'Take Up Weapons'

( [email protected] ) Dec 10, 2015 03:41 PM EST
The Islamic State is attempting to lure young Chinese Muslims into joining its ranks, releasing a new propaganda song in Mandarin encouraging them to "take up weapons".
Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Reuters

The Islamic State is attempting to lure young Chinese Muslims into joining its ranks, releasing a new propaganda song in Mandarin encouraging them to "take up weapons".

CNBC reports that the four-minute song, titled "I am Mujahid," was released earlier this week and includes lyrics calling for "Muslim brothers to awaken," to take up weapons, and to "die fighting on the battlefield."

The report notes that the chant was posted online on Monday by Al Hayat Media Center, the foreign-language media division of the Islamic State.

Responding to the recording, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said it showed that "terrorism is the common enemy of mankind" and the need to stop extremists using the Internet.

"In the face of terrorism, no country can stand on its own, and the international community should stand closer together and cooperate to jointly strike against all forms of terrorism," Hua told a regular news briefing on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

While it is not known exactly how many Chinese Muslims may have already been recruited this year, it has been confirmed that at least 300 Chinese citizens  -- many of them from Xinjiang -- traveled through Malaysia to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria early in 2015.

Li Wei, director of the counterterrorism research center at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the nation is undoubtedly facing an increased terror threat due to ISIS' growing influence in Xinjiang.

"With the rise of ISIS and as more Chinese nationals are smuggled over the border to join it, China faces a bigger threat of terrorism," Li said. However, she clarified that a large-scale attack is unlikely because it is "harder to obtain tools and China has a tighter control over terrorist activities."

Earlier this year, three Chinese nationals were killed after attempting to leave the group, the Chinese Global Times reported. One man was shot in Syria after trying to escape and return to school in Turkey, and two others were beheaded along with 11 others from six countries who attempted to desert the group. In November, IS militants executed another Chinese national after ransom demands were not met.

IS' online English-language magazine, Dabiq, published photos of a Chinese and a Norwegian hostage, claiming the men have been "executed after being abandoned by their kafir [infidel] nations and organizations."

At the time, China's President Xi Jinping condemned the killing and stated that "Terrorism is a universal enemy of mankind," the South China Morning Post reported.

"China condemns all types of terrorism and will fight against any violent terrorism attacks that challenge human civilization."

The Chinese ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the government had tried to save Fan after he was kidnapped by the extremists, but "the terrorist group ignored human conscience and morals."

"The Chinese government will do all it can to bring the killers to justice," Hong said. "We will continue working with the international community on counterterrorism in pursuit of maintaining world peace."

Reuters notes that while China has called for a political solution to the ongoing civil war crisis in Syria and urged cooperation by the international community in the fight against terrorism, the country's government has not laid out a specific plan of action.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said at a briefing in Beijing: "At present, relevant countries have proactively coordinated and consulted on their anti-Islamic State actions in Syria and they have had definite progress on fighting terrorism."