Xinjiang's terrorists had killed Islamic religious leaders, reports China Daily

  • ASEAN+
  • Friday, 06 Dec 2019

XINJIANG, ANN (Dec 6) -- Islamic religious leaders in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are also victims of extremism and terrorism with several Uygur religious leaders being murdered or receiving threats, a regional Islamic association said Thursday.

It added that religious extremists who choose to kill the innocent to achieve their goals are the greatest threat to Islam.

The spread of extremism and terrorism in Xinjiang once led to frequent terrorist attacks in the region. A large number of people, including Uygurs and several Islamic religious leaders, were killed in violent attacks, the Xinjiang Islamic Association said in a statement.

The statement on Thursday came after the Uygur Human Rights Policy Act 2019 was approved by the United States House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Juma Tayier, 74, an imam at Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, was killed by three people after he performed a routine sunrise prayer at the mosque on July 30,2014.

According to court files, the three attackers belonged to a cell that practiced religious extremism. They watched videos of terrorist activities and organized physical training sessions before killing Juma with an ax. They believed the imam was corrupting the true meaning of the Quran. The mastermind of the attack was only 18.

It was not the first time a religious leader from Id Kah, the largest mosque in China, was targeted by separatists or religious extremists.

On May 12,1996, three people ambushed imam Aronghan Haji, 76, and his son after they left their house for morning prayers at the mosque. Aronghan was stabbed 21 times in the head, back and legs. Aronghan and his son were severely injured in the attack.

Religious extremists have betrayed the Muslim pursuit of peace, and they are the greatest threat to Islam and are despised by Muslims, said the association, adding that the murderous act distorted and discredited the human rights of Xinjiang's Muslims.

To strengthen control over people's thinking, religious extremist forces discourage people from learning the Chinese language and require people to follow rules they invented rather than the law.

Their goal is to seek independence of the region and establish a theocratic regime, said Shewket Imin, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang People's Congress, the regional legislature, in an article published in the official Xinjiang Daily on Thursday.

To prevent people who once had extremist or terrorist thoughts from becoming religious extremists, Xinjiang set up vocational training and education centers, Shewket said.

Abudulrekep Tumniaz, head of the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, said on Thursday that those who are influenced by religious extremism are people who are lost and not necessarily evil.

There are 10 Islamic institutes around the region that provide better, non-radicalized religious services to more than 10 million Muslims in the region.

The vocational centers have played a key role in helping people realize their mistakes and preparing them for a better life. They are not "concentration camps" that "imprison a large number of Uygur Muslims" as portrayed in the US act, said Abudulrekep, who has visited many centers.

The number of mosques in the region has grown to 24,000 from just 2,000 since the 1980s. The government has also funded renovation projects of mosques in the regional capital of Urumqi and in the cities of Yining and Hotan in recent years.

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