CHINA - Religious extremism is at the root of terrorism and leads to violence such as the attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, experts said as a Urumqi court delivered eight death sentences on Monday in connection with attacks in the region's capital.
A blast on April 30 at a railway station, along with a vehicle attack on May 22 at a market in Urumqi, killed 40 innocent people.
Of the 17 individuals on trial, eight were sentenced to death, five were given suspended death sentences, one received a life sentence, two received 10 years and one received five years.
Ahmet Rexit, who led the group that carried out the bombing, received one of the eight death sentences of the day. He was the figure in a video released by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, an international terrorist group, claiming to have masterminded the incident.
In September 2013, Ahmet, a 24-year-old Uygur, tried to cross the border to join a so-called holy war after being taught religious precepts by Ismail Yusup. Ahmet admitted he could only read the Quran; he could not understand its meaning.
A senior anti-terrorism researcher from Xinjiang, Ma Pinyan, said there should be no tolerance for religious extremism, or religious training that passes it on.
Through religious indoctrination, Ismail gradually gained control over members of the group and ordered them to make explosives and carry out terrorist attacks.
Ahmet regarded music and dance as evils. He also rejected free love, and thought males and females who planned to marry should not be allowed to see each other before a religious ceremony.
He also passed extreme ideas to Sedierding Shawuti, who carried and detonated the bomb at the railway station.
Gulnishahan Mijit, the wife of Sedierding, said her husband asked her to wear the niqab, a full-face black veil favoured by ultraconservative Muslims. Meanwhile, she was not allowed to go out, even to meet with family members.