Ex­trem­ists mur­der imam in Xin­jiang

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By CUI JIA in Urumqi cui­jia@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Three peo­ple at­tacked and killed the imam of Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, south Xin­jiang Uygur au­tonomous re­gion, af­ter he per­formed the rou­tine sun­rise prayer at 6:58 am on Wed­nes­day.

Two sus­pects were shot dead and one was ar­rested, lo­cal po­lice said on Thurs­day evening.

The imam, Juma Tayier, 80, was a Mus­lim leader who con­stantly con­demned those who carry out ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Xin­jiang in the name of Is­lam. He was also the deputy pres­i­dent of the China Is­lamic As­so­ci­a­tion.

Juma had re­ceived many threat­en­ing let­ters but was never afraid, his daugh­ter Yimgul Juma said dur­ing his funeral. She said Juma’s eight chil­dren never imag­ined their beloved fa­ther would be bru­tally slain.

Po­lice tracked down Tur­gong Tur­son, Memetjon Yimtila and Nurmemet Abidili around noon on Wed­nes­day.

The three, who have been un­der the in­flu­ence of re­li­gious ex­trem­ism, re­sisted ar­rest and at­tacked of­fi­cers with knives and axes. Po­lice shot dead two sus­pects at the scene and ar­rested the other. The case is still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, po­lice said.

It’s not the first time that a re­li­gious leader from Id Kah, the big­gest mosque in China, has be­come the tar­get of 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.

Zhang Chunx­ian, Party chief of the re­gion, ob­served a mo­ment of si­lence for Juma as well as dozens of civil­ians who were killed in a ter­ror­ist at­tack early on Mon­day morn­ing in Shache county, Kashgar pre­fec­ture, on Thurs­day.

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