Islamic group releases video threat to Olympics

Aug. 07, 2008, 2:11 p.m. (ET)

URUMQI, China (AP) An Islamic group that has threatened to attack the Summer Games released a new video claiming the communist regime's alleged mistreatment of Muslims justifies holy war, a U.S. group that monitors militant communications said Thursday.

In the video, a representative of the Turkistan Islamic Party accuses China of forcing Muslims into atheism and destroying Islamic schools, according to the SITE Institute. SITE says the group issued the video on Wednesday.

The representative says China's birth control program has forced abortions upon Muslim women. He also reiterated threats against the Olympics made in a previous video last month and urged Muslims to stay away from the games.

News of the video came just hours after U.S. President George W. Bush landed in Beijing for a three day visit to attend the games opening ceremony and some sports events.

The video was in the Turkic language of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority in western China with a long history of tense relations with the government.

The Turkistan Islamic Party is believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, where security experts say it has received training from al-Qaeda.

Last month, the group issued videotaped threats and claimed responsibility for a series of recent bus bombings in China. The latest video, which was apparently produced on Aug. 1, features graphics similar to ones used earlier: "a burning Olympics logo and an explosion imposed over one of the venues," said the Washington-based IntelCenter, another extremist monitoring group.

Ben Venzke of IntelCenter said his group expected the Turkistan Islamic Party to release another message, and he thought the group would continue making threats after the games begin.

"I think what they're doing is they're trying to capitalize on the buildup to the games," he said.

Terrorism analysts and Chinese authorities have said that with more than 100,000 soldiers and police guarding Beijing and other Olympic co-host cities, terrorists were more likely to attack less-protected areas.

On Monday, assailants killed 16 border police and wounded 16 others in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar when they rammed a stolen truck into the group before tossing homemade bombs and stabbing them.