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Top Imam: Xinjiang riot 'against Islamic doctrine'
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"The organizers and participants of the July 5 riot cannot represent the Xinjiang Muslims and their atrocious behaviors are totally against the doctrine of a Mohammedan," said Imam Chen Guangyuan, president of the China Islamic Association (CIA) and the China Islamic Institute in Beijing Tuesday.

Riots in Urumqi, which began on Sunday, have killed 156 people and injured more than 1,000, the largest number of casualties in any single incident of its kind in six decades.

Xinjiang is home to about 9 million Muslims – nearly half of China's total Muslim population. It also hosts 24 thousands mosques and more than 28,000 imams, Chen told China.org.cn in an interview in his office.

"We call for all Muslims in Xinjiang – do not believe in rumors, do not be deceived by separatists and do not participate in any illegal activities," Imam Chen said.

According to the Islamic doctrine, the crime of killing one innocent person is equal to that of killing the whole mankind, he said.

He continued by encouraging all Muslims to take concrete actions to firmly safeguard the social stability of Xinjiang.

"As head of the IAC, I would express my severe condemnation and great indignation over [the riots]," said the 77-year-old imam. "I'd like to express my deep condolences to the victims."

"I hope the wounds will heal and Xinjiang will return to a peaceful environment as soon as possible," said Chen.

"China, as a large country, is on the road of development and some foreign hostile forces are not happy to see this," Chen said. "I'm also here to warn those forces that our country is united and stable and their attempts are doomed to fail."

China has 10 Muslim ethnic groups, which have a combined population of 21 million living mostly in Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai and Gansu of west China and Yunnan in the southwest. Some are also scattered throughout China's vast interior areas.

Of China's 55 officially recognized minority peoples, 10 groups are predominately Muslim. The largest groups in descending order are Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Dongxiang, Kirgiz, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek, Bonan and Tatar.

(China.org.cn July 7, 2009)

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