BEIJING: The murder of a respected religious leader in China’s far-western Xinjiang region highlights the anti-humanity and anti-Islam nature of religious extremists.
Jume Tahir, imam of China’s largest mosque, the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, was murdered on Wednesday morning by three people influenced by religious extremism. His ruthless murder inflicted a huge loss on all Muslims and has drawn waves of condemnation.
The 74-year-old had consistently condemned terrorist attacks committed by religious extremists. He had been practising as imam, the official who leads the prayer, in the Id Kah Mosque since 2003. On Tuesday, he presided over the ceremony of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Under the disguise of Islam, the extremists have launched a spate of terrorist attacks on civilians, government workers and policemen in an attempt to create chaos and damage ethnic unity.
In the latest case, dozens of Uygur and Han civilians were killed or injured in an “organized and premeditated” attack by a gang armed with knives and axes early on Monday morning in Kashgar’s Shache County. On May 22, a terrorist attack on a street market in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, left 31 civilians dead and 94 injured. There have also been attacks in other parts of the country, including one near Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Oct. 28 and another at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming on March 1.
Common people’s lives have been claimed and more people are left living in fear. Religious extremism has nothing to do with true Islamic teachings that promote peace, unity, friendliness and harmony. Extremist forces in many parts of Xinjiang have sought to change the lifestyles and values of common Muslims to brainwash them into joining forces to launch terrorist attacks.
The terrorists have become a public enemy and they are like “rats crossing the street that are chased by all,” to use a popular Chinese expression. People are calling for a harsh crackdown so as to protect lives and restore stability. All ethnic groups nationwide should cherish ethnic unity and work together to thwart the political intentions of the three forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism to help realize long-lasting stability in Xinjiang.
Meanwhile, China’s religious authority has condemned the “lunatic” murder of an imam of the country’s largest mosque, urging unity among Muslims. Jume Tahir, 74, of the Id Kah Mosque in the city of Kashgar in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, was killed at 6:58 a.m. on Wednesday after he finished hosting the morning ritual. He enjoyed a high reputation among Muslims nationwide, but his murder has been attributed to religious extremism.
The State Administration for Religious Affairs said in a statement on Friday that it was “deeply shocked” by the murder and described Jume Tahir’s death as a “huge loss” for the country’s Islamic circle. It described Jume Tahir as a knowledgable and respected religious leader as well as a friend of the Communist Party of China (CPC) who supported the CPC’s leadership and helped the Party and the government implement its policies of religious freedom and guide Muslims to carry out religious activities within the scope of law.
“Mobsters killed this virtuous old man and respected religious leader with extremely cruel methods. Their acts were inhuman and outrageous. They will inevitably suffer severe punishments by law and the denunciation of Muslims and all people with a conscience,” the statement said.
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