Leading Islamic figures in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Friday condemned the terrorist crimes committed by the "East Turkistan" terrorist forces in the past few years.
They did so in response to an official article entitled "'East Turkistan' Terrorist Forces Cannot Get Away with Impunity", revealing in detail the nature of the "East Turkistan" terrorist forces and their collaboration with international terrorist forces.
The article, issued Monday by the Information Office of the State Council, blamed the "East Turkistan" terrorist forces for certain violent crimes committed in Xinjiang in the past years, such as explosions, assassinations, incidents of arson, poisonings and assaults.
Zunong Abula, a member of the Islamic Association of Xinjiang and the imam of the Nongjichang Mosque in the regional capital, said he had realized the nature and the background of the "East Turkistan" terrorist force after reading the article.
"We used to believe that much of the violence in Xinjiang was committed by only a small handful of people, but now we realize that these people have outside support."
Expressing belief that China will defeat the "East Turkistan" terrorist forces no matter how vicious they are, he said religious believers in Xinjiang should unite as one.
He called for improved education of young people, saying they are vulnerable to manipulation by terrorist forces due to their naivete.
Ma Shouxin, the imam of the Fengxiang Mosque, said the bus explosions that took place several years ago in Urumqi committed by the "East Turkistan" terrorists were against the Koran.
He added that the word Islam itself has the meaning of "peace," and the broad masses of Muslims are peace loving.
"We should guard against the attempts by the 'East Turkistan' terrorists to sabotage our country through collaboration with foreign anti-China forces," he said.
Ma Antai, the imam of the Shaanxi Mosque, said that the "East Turkistan" forces claim that they aim to establish a separate state integrating both religion and politics, but Xinjiang has been part of China since ancient times.
Abulaiti, a young teacher at a local Islamic college, said that the "East Turkistan" forces are part of the international forces of terrorism.
"The whole world is against terrorism. As a Chinese citizen and an Islamic scholar, it is my duty to be firm in the struggle against terrorism and educate young people in the truth and the facts," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2002)