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US shooting condemned by Muslims in China

Updated: 2016-06-14 07:49
By Xu Wei in Kashgar, Xinjiang (China Daily)

Chinese Islamic leaders at a symposium held to reinforce a positive image of Islam and curb extremism condemned the deadly mass shooting at an LGBT venue in downtown Orlando, Florida, in the United States.

"We condemn this attack on innocent civilians. It is an act of terror against humanity and has nothing to do with religious factors," Adiljan Haji Kerim, vice-president of the Islamic Association of China, said on the sidelines of the symposium.

The mass shooting, the worst in US history, took place on Sunday as a man armed with an assault rifle killed 50 people at a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Police killed the shooter, who was identified as Omar Mateen, 29, a US citizen who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan.

A law enforcement official said the gunman made a 911 call from the nightclub professing allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, The Associated Press reported.

US shooting condemned by Muslims in China

As Muslims across the world celebrate Ramadan, Haji Kerim said it is a time to promote friendship between Muslims and non-Muslims.

"It is also a window of opportunity for kind acts and further enhancing respect between different groups," he said.

Guo Chengzhen, vice-president and secretary-general of the association, said Islam has always been against terrorism.

He cited a verse from the Quran: "If anyone kills a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind."

The symposium, held in Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, centered on issues such as incorrect interpretations of jihad, which have given rise to extremism in Xinjiang.

Guo said the symposium aims to help Muslims in Xinjiang identify and avoid extremism, and to hold exchanges on current thinking in the Islamic world.

"In recent years, we have seen a growing trend of reform in Islamic groups in some countries. Chinese Muslims should keep close tabs on the latest trends of thought as well," he said.

He also warned against the risks of fundamentalism, adding that the Quran must be interpreted within its historical background.

He cited studies from scholars at Al-Azhar University, who believe that Islam should be able to adapt to different locations and times.

Haji Kerim said the association is also trying to adapt to the reading habits of Muslim youths in China, and has launched its own social media platforms.

He added that a key factor in curbing extremism is to step up the training of religious clergy.

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