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Al-Qaida Leader Urges Uighurs to Launch Holy War Against China

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A senior al-Qaida leader has called for a holy war against China in response to what he says is the Chinese government's oppression of Muslim ethnic Uighurs in the western region of Xinjiang.

In a video posted on an Islamic Web site this week, Abu Yahya al-Libi says it is the duty of Muslims to stand by their "wounded and wronged brothers" in Xinjiang.

Chinese authorities say riots in early July in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, killed 184 people, many of whom were Han, members of China's main ethnic group. The July riots were the deadliest in China in decades.

Wearing a white-and-red checkered turban and a vest, Abu Yahya al-Libi also called on Muslims to launch a media campaign to raise awareness about what is happening in China. He called on Muslims to expose what he called Beijing's Chinese colonialization of the region.

China's ethnic Uighurs are a largely Muslim group that has long complained of political and cultural persecution by the Han Chinese. The Uighurs say they are denied economic opportunities and are persecuted for their different culture and religion. China's government says it treats everyone equally.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.