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Despite Attempts by recruiters from organizations such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), Xinjiang Uighurs will not join the jihadist movements of Islamic caliphates, according to exile Uighur activists. Uighurs do not share the same ideology, according to the activists, despite caliphate claims that the region should be “recovered [into] the shade of the Islamic Caliphate.”

These claims will have “little impact,” said Alim Seytoff, president of the Uyghur American Association and director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project in a recent interview.

“These claims are mostly likely attempts by these groups to lure and recruit disillusioned young Uighurs to their cause. That is not going to happen because Uighurs do not share their ideology.”

“The Uighur people will simply ignore such claims,” said Seytoff.

The Chinese government, which administers the far-western province of Xinjiang, has taken advantage of recent Islamist terrorist movements, according to Seytoff.

“China has been opportunistically taking advantage of the rise of ISIS and attempting to artificially create links between ISIS and the Uighurs in the world in order to mute international criticism of its systematic and egregious human rights violations of the Uighur people in East Turkistan,” he said.

“This has not prevented the Chinese government from demonizing the Uighurs as supporters and sympathizers of these groups in order to justify its heavy-handed repression of the Uighur people since 9/11.”

By Sid Douglas