BEIJING: Chen Guangyuan, president of the Islamic Association of China (IAC), slammed the riot on July 5 in northwest China's Xinjiang, saying it has gone "against the basic doctrine of the Islam" and was "a serious crime".
"As head of the IAC, I would express my severe condemnation and great indignation over it," said the 77-year-old imam in an interview with Xinhua.
According to the Islamic teaching, the crime of killing one innocent person is equal to that of killing the whole mankind, he said.
"From the Islamic point of view, the crimes (of rioters) are very serious and unforgivable," he said.
Death toll has risen to 156 following the riot Sunday evening in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. And another 1,080 people were injured in the riot.
Islam, with the word itself meaning peace and stability, is a religion that promotes peace and humanity, Chen said.
"In a period featuring stability and unification, China is engaged in development and improving the people's livelihood," he said. "It's under this circumstances that these mobs undermined social stability, ethnic unity and the social order."
The riot was not an isolated issue. It was a violent crime which was instigated and directed by separatism forces abroad, and carried out by outlaws inside the country, he said.
The riot, which involved assaults, vandalism, looting and arson, was an organized and preempted activity and has done great harm and resulted in great losses, he said.
He called on people in Xinjiang to sustain stability, guard against rumors and separatists' traps, and do not participate in illegal activities.
"I'm also here to warn those overseas opposition forces that our country is united and stable. Your attempts are doomed to fail," he said.