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News, March 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Prayers return to normal at riot-hit grand mosque in Tibet province capital, Lhasa 2008-03-22 17:22:05  

    LHASA, March 22 (Xinhua) --

Prayers have returned to normal at the violence-hit grand mosque in Lhasa.

    Friday is Jumu'ah, a day of holy obligation for Muslims, and at 2 p.m. on Friday more than 1,500 gathered at the mosque in Bagor Street, downtown Lhasa, to take part in prayers led by Imam Yagu.

    Speaking about the riots, Imam Yagu told the congregation: "A handful of lawless people tried to cause conflict among people of different religions. Some people with ulterior motives seized the chance and spread rumors to sow discord among people of different ethnic groups and cause confrontation, which will not succeed."

    The Imam urged believers to have a clear understanding of the situation and support social stability, economic development and national unity.

    The unrest, which broke out in the Tibetan capital on March 14, left businesses looted and residences, shops and vehicles torched. The grand mosque was also set on fire at around 8:30 p.m.

    At least 18 civilians and one police officer have been confirmed killed in the unrest, which also saw 382 injuries. Rioters set fire to seven schools, five hospitals and 120 residences. A total of 84 vehicles were burnt and 908 shops were looted. Damage is estimated at more than 244 million yuan (about 34.59million U.S. dollars).

    A group of officials from the China Buddhist Association Tibet Branch visited the prayers on Friday at the grand mosque.

    Zhikongqungcang Lobsangqiangba, vice chairman of the China Buddhist Association Tibet Branch, said Muslims in Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhists had been getting along well since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and expressed his sorrow for the harm they suffered in the Lhasa unrest.

    "The riots were organized, premeditated and incited by the Dalai clique, with the purpose of damaging national unity, fomenting discord among people of different ethnic groups and causing chaos in society," said the Buddhist leader, hoping Muslims could see clearly the nature of the Lhasa unrest.


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