BEIJING, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Nur Bekri, chairman of the government of west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has vowed to stop religious extremism from spreading in the ethnic region.
In an article in Monday's edition of the Xinjiang Daily newspaper, he said recent years have seen separatists, terrorists and religious extremists renew their efforts to sabotage Xinjiang's prosperity and stability by perpetrating a slew of terrorist incidents.
Nur Bekri claimed these were fueled by religious extremism and that the acts of terror were made possible by taking advantage of people's faith.
He described religious extremism as a "tumor" threatening the region.
The chairman cited last month's attack in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, where knife-wielding assailants killed 29 civilians and injured another 143 at a railway station. Evidence pointed the attack being committed by terrorists from Xinjiang.
The brutal violence against civilians revealed their antihuman nature, according to Nur Bekri.
He went on to say that religious extremism had misled people, particularly the youth, into terrorist activities, and that those deceived became chess pieces in a politically motivated plot.
In order to incite fanaticism and control believers, religious extremists have blatantly distorted religious teachings, making up heresy such as "jihadist martyrs goes to heaven," "killing a pagan is worth over ten years of piety," and "one gets whatever he wants in heaven."
Extremists use such heresy to bewilder believers into what they believe is "jihad" in the form of suicide terror attacks or other violence, according to the article.
Nur Bekri said that extremists attempt to pit believers against "pagans," alienating non-believers and those who do not conform to their rules or practices, hurling insults such as "traitors" and "scum" on them.
They also advocate "religion above all," and a pan-Islam society, he added. They forbid believers to watch TV, listen to radios, read newspapers or even "laugh during weddings or cry during funerals." They force men to grow beards and women to wear burka, he said.
Nur Bekri also claimed in the article that the extremists had demanded not only food, but also medicines, cosmetics and clothing to all to be halal, promulgating the idea that government-subsidized housing or life necessities produced elsewhere are non-halal.
Those harnessing religious extremism mean to build up their forces against the government, and to create social chaos through terrorist attacks, in the hope of causing a split in the country, he said.
Nur Bekri vowed to root out religious extremism, and called on officials, particularly ethnic minority officials, to counter extremists' lies and for people of all ethnicities to distinguish normal religious activities from extremist acts.