China / Society

China's anti-terrorism efforts: Xinjiang terrorist suspect tells his story

( Updated: 2015-07-19 19:40

Ekber is another man who received militant training overseas. He was arrested on his return from Syria. He told how he had been trained by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.

In early 2013, Ekber met a man named Eli, who claimed to know a lot about religion. Eli told Ekber that he could martyr himself and go to heaven.

"I read in books that if a Muslim commits suicide, he will go to hell. I watched jihad videos of suicide bombings. That's suicide. And according to the books they will go to hell. I thought it was contradictory, and asked him about this. He told me that suicide for personal reasons is different from dying for jihad. Dying for Jihad is dying for religion.

"It's not suicide but martyrdom. That's what he said. There were many young people of my age. Eli knew the most about religion. We all asked religious questions."

Based on Ekber's account, police were able to track down Eli to the terrorist group Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement.

"Eli brainwashed them with extremist thoughts and let them watch jihad videos. When they wanted to conduct jihad, he told them how, gave them money, and introduced them to the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. He told the ETIM to guide them to Turkey and Syria," a policeman said.

Encouraged by Eli, Ekber went to Turkey. He went by the name of Abdurahman. But when he got to Turkey, he found that it was not as he had imagined.

"I thought women would all wear the Niqab, and men would all have a full beard. But I found out Turkish people are just like people in Xinjiang. And there was a lot of consumerism, and people were all busy. That's what I saw."

In Istanbul, Eli told Ekber the time had come for Jihad.

"When I got to Turkey, Eli told me that he will put me in a place to do Jihad.".

Eli arranged for Ekber and others to travel to the border city of Antalya and sneak into war-torn Syria.

"The ticket seller asked for our names. Eli told me to tell them our fake names and we did as he said. And we got our tickets."

Guided by a Turkish man, Ekber then met up with an armed smuggling gang in Syria. They took away all the money he had.

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