The head of the Islamic Association of China called on Chinese Muslims to remain calm and cool-minded after the United States and some other countries launched the military actions against Iraq.
Imam Chen Guangyuan, president of the Islamic Association of China, made the call in an open letter issued to all Chinese Muslims on Saturday.
Chen said he himself fully supports the Chinese Government's principled stance on the Iraq issue.
"We express our great indignation and condemnation over the military actions against Iraq by the United States and some other countries, who have ignored the diplomatic mediation and efforts made by the international communities to avoid war and the anti-war voices expressed by the people in different countries, including the people of the United States," Chen said in the letter.
Chen expressed great concern and sympathy to the Iraqi people who he said are suffering from the agony of war. He urged the United States and some other countries to stop the military operations, and return to the correct path of political settlement of the Iraq issue.
Islam advocates for peace, he said. More than 20 million Chinese Muslims love peace and oppose war.
The stances and opinions that the Chinese government has held on the Iraq issue represent the wishes of the Chinese people, including the Muslims, he stressed.
Chen said Chinese Muslims have a tradition of loving their motherland, Islam and peace, and they believe that the Chinese Government will uphold its stance and continue to make diplomatic efforts for an early settlement of the Iraq issue.
"We sincerely hope that all Muslims across the country would start from the national fundamental interests, remain cool-minded and calm, and speak out the wishes for peace and anti-war sentiments through normal and lawful channels", he said in the letter.
Chen said Chinese Muslims should avoid taking extreme actions on impulse that may lead to results contrary to what they hope foror harmful to social stability.
"We should do our duty and obligations to maintain social stability and unity among different ethnic groups, and promote economic growth and the building a well-off society in an all-round way," he said.
The president said Chinese Muslims sincerely pray for Allah to bless the world with peace and tranquillity and the Iraqi Muslim brothers and sisters out of the disasters of war as early as possible.