Canada: Quebec premier says Muslims must fight terrorism

By Barry Ellsworth

 

TRENTON, Ont. (AA): Muslims have a responsibility to fight terrorism, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said Thursday after a Montreal resident allegedly stabbed a police officer in Flint, Michigan, US, the previous day.

“Unfortunately, you cannot disconnect this type of event – terrorism – from Islam in general,” Couillard told reporters in Quebec City.

But the head of the Muslim Council of Montreal told Anadolu Agency the remarks are not helpful because Islam is not the reason for the actions of terrorists.

Salam Elmenyawi said Couillard’s comments reflect a “lack of understanding and “religion has nothing to do with [terror attacks]”.

While agreeing that Islam, like all religions, has a responsibility to fight extremism, Hassan Guillet, spokesperson for the Council of Imams of Quebec, said drawing a connection between Islam and terrorism is wrong.

“Islam is a religion and terrorism is a crime,” he said.

Mehmet Deger, president of the Dorval Mosque in Montreal’s West Island, echoed Guillet’s view, saying such acts are in no way linked to Islam.

“This is not Islam’s fault,” he said. “Islam has nothing to do with such acts.”

Deger said Muslims “condemn such acts all the time and are themselves often the targets of terror attacks.

Couillard was asked if Quebec Muslims would face negative reactions because of the Flint attack, allegedly by Amor Ftouhi. Montreal is in the province of Quebec.

The premier appeared to contradict his previous remarks and agreed with Elmenyawi when he quoted Emmanuel Macron who directed comments to the Muslim community in France before he became president last month.

“He told them, ‘It’s also your responsibility to act on the theological front to explain to your people that is not part of the religion – that it€™s contrary to the teaching of the religion’,” Couillard said.

The premier added that the province was opposed to “any intolerance, any discrimination,€ toward any group, including Muslims.

“We are completely against that,” Couillard said.

He then went on to point out that history is rife with “bad moments” regarding the Christian religion.

“Inquisitions, religious wars in Europe – horrible,” he said. “But the religion was able to distance itself from that and come back to its principles.”

Police combed the Montreal home of Ftouhi on Wednesday after the stabbing at the Bishop International Airport.

Ftouhi yelled, “Allahu Akbar,” just prior to the stabbing.

The suspect, Amor Ftouhi, who is now in custody, legally entered the United States in Lake Champlain, New York, June 16, and later traveled to Flint, Gelios said. He was in Michigan as early as June 18, Gelios said.

The incident is being investigated by the FBI as an act of terror.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard By François Thivierge/Creative Commons]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/campaign-on-terror/canadian-premier-says-muslims-must-fight-terrorism/

Somalia: 5 killed in suicide car bomb attack

by Hassan Istiila

 

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA): At least five people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu on Thursday, according to the Somalia’s Security Ministry spokesman.

Among those killed in the attack was Sheikh Mohamud Aw Libaax, Jubaland minister for youth, according to Jubaland regional state Deputy President Mohamed Sayid Aadan.

“The minister has succumbed to wounds he sustained in the attack”, Mohamed said.

Police officer Abdullahi said a suicide bomber had driven the car into the outer wall of the Waberi police station.

Al-Shabaab terrorists have claimed responsibility for the attack.

This is the third attack to hit in Mogadishu in three days.

On Tuesday, nine people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack that took place outside Wadajir district headquarters, opposite the busy Suuqa-weyn marketplace.

Troops from the African Union forced al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu in 2011, but the militants remain strong in some rural areas.

[Photo: People inspect the damaged cars at the site after bomb-laden vehicle attack at Vadajir district in Mogadishu, Somalia earlier on June 20, 2017. Photographer: Muhabiri Sadak Mohamed/AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/campaign-on-terror/somalia-5-killed-suicide-car-bomb-attack/

UK: May unveils post Brexit plans for EU citizens in UK

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

 

LONDON (AA): Prime Minister Theresa May laid out her government’s plans Thursday to grant special “settled EU status” to EU citizens living in the U.K. for five years.

The new status unveiled during a European Council summit in Brussels would allow approximately 3.2 million EU citizens to stay in the U.K. and provide access to health services, education and other benefits after Brexit.

May has said the U.K. seek reciprocal rights by the EU for 1 million Brits living in member states.

The U.K. was willing to agree to a “cutoff point” between March 29, 2017 and March 2019, May said during a dinner at the summit.

The first date is when the U.K. triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – a first step to officially begin the exit of any member state from the EU. The latter is the date on which the U.K. would leave the union.

In opening remarks of the summit, European Council President Donald Tusk suggested there may still be a way for the U.K. to remain in the EU.

“Some of my British friends have even asked me whether Brexit could be reversed and whether I could imagine an outcome where the UK stays part of the EU,” he said.

“I told them that, in fact, the European Union was built on dreams that seemed impossible to achieve. So, who knows. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,” he added, quoting lyrics of the famous John Lennon song, Imagine.

In other business, the European Council decided to finalize works on a new border information sharing system this year in a bid to protect residents against terrorism, according to a statement by the bloc at the end of the first day of the high-level summit.

Strongly condemning recent terrorist attacks, the council said it “stands united and firm in the fight against terrorism, hatred and violent extremism.

European leaders also agreed “to cooperate closely with the online industry” as it urged “social media companies to do whatever is necessary to prevent the spread of terrorist material on the internet,” by developing new tools to remove terror promoting material from cyberspace, the statement added.

A deal on the first day of the two-day meeting was reached on defense and member states also agreed on criteria and commitments, as well as concrete capability projects.

[Photo: Prime Minister Theresa May earlier announcing General Election. Photograher: Kate Green/AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/uk/uk-may-unveils-post-brexit-plans-eu-citizens-uk/

Iraq: Daesh destroys historic mosque in Mosul

By Haydar Hadi

 

MOSUL, Iraq (AA): Daesh has blown up the iconic Grand al-Nuri Mosque and its famous leaning minaret, in Mosul, the Iraqi army said Wednesday.

The terror group destroyed the building “and its minarets while our forces were 50 meters [164 feet] away”, Lt. Gen. Abdulemir Yarullah of Operations Command in Mosul said in a statement.

Responding to the destruction, coalition commander Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin said Daesh “destroyed one of Mosul and Iraq™s great treasures.

“This is a crime against the people of Mosul and all of Iraq, and is an example of why this brutal organization must be annihilated,” he said.

“The responsibility of this devastation is laid firmly at the doorstep of ISIS, and we continue to support our Iraqi partners as they bring these terrorists to justice,” he added, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, another name for Daesh.

Daeh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced so-called caliphate at the historic mosque in 2014.

”Blowing up the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque amounts to an official acknowledgement of defeat,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a brief comment on his website.

Before Daesh took control of Mosul, Unesco had begun an effort to protect and rehabilitate the minaret, known as Al Hadba, or the hunchback.

Daesh’s Amaq news agency accused American aircraft of destroying the mosque. US led coalition has denied the claims.

 

Iraqi forces began fresh operations Sunday, aimed at retaking Mosul’s Old City, a densely-populated maze of narrow alleys where fighting is usually conducted house to house.

Backed by air cover provided by a U.S.-led coalition, the Iraqi military is currently engaged in a months-long campaign to recapture Mosul, Daesh’s last stronghold in northern Iraq.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo of Grand al-Nuri Mosque and its famous leaning minaret. Creative Commons]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/middle-east/iraq-daesh-destroys-historic-mosque-mosul/

UK: May apologises for inadequate Grenfell tower fire response

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

 

LONDON (AA): British Prime Minister Theresa May apologized Wednesday for the inadequate support for the victims and families of last week’s Grenfell Tower block fire, which killed at least 79 people.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Holgate, the Chief Executive of Kensington and Chelsea council resigned amid criticism over the borough’s handling of the Grenfell Tower fire.

“Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the Council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed,” Holgate said in a statement issued by the council.

May’s apology came the same day as funeral prayers for Mohammed Aljahali, a Syrian refugee who was identified as the first victim of the catastrophe at the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre.

Speaking after the queen had laid out the new government’s legislative program, May said the initial response to the Grenfell Tower fire was “not good enough”.

“As prime minister, I apologize for that failure, she said.

Having ordered an emergency aid package for the fire survivors and a full public inquiry into the incident, May said that all those who have lost their homes will be rehoused within three weeks.

Meanwhile, a Muslim congregation of around 2,700 people joined family members and relatives of Mohammed Aljahali at a funeral ceremony in east London.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, joined in the prayers after meeting privately with Mohammed’s family to offer his condolences, a statement by the East London mosque said.

Alhajali, 23, was a refugee from war-torn Syria who had begun to pursue his dream of studying engineering in London.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. However, local media reports suggest inadequate fireproofing and cladding in the 120-apartment block that was not fire-resistant could be to blame.

 

Islamophobic terror attack

 

May also spoke about the terror attack early Monday targeting Muslim Welfare House on Finsbury Park Road, in north London.

May said she joined opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in condemning the appalling attack.

“This was the fourth terrorist attack on our country in three months following the attacks here in Westminster, in Manchester, and at London Bridge,” May said.

“This time it was an attack on British Muslims as they left their place of worship at a sacred time of the year. It was a brutal and sickening reminder that terrorism, extremism, and hatred can take many forms and our determination to tackle them must be the same whoever is responsible,” she added.

Underlining that the government will review the country’s counterterrorism strategy and pledging more power to security forces in the fight against extremism and terrorism, May said they will work to reach international agreements for a safer cyberspace.

She also expressed the government’s determination to fight extremism and hate in the same way they fight racism by forming a commission, in a pledge laid out earlier in the Queen’s Speech.

œThis extremism is every bit as insidious and destructive to our values and we will stop at nothing to defeat it,” she said.

May added that no matter what disagreements exist, “we can all at least welcome the focus in this Queen’s Speech on stamping out extremist and hateful ideology of any kind, including Islamophobia.”

In Monday’s terror attack at Seven Sisters Road, near Finsbury Park Mosque, Darren Osborne, 47, allegedly drove into a crowd of Muslim worshippers who were leaving Taraweeh prayer, killing Makram Ali, a 51-year-old father of five and injuring 11 others, two critically.

[Photo: Lighting candles during vigil for victims of Grenfell Fire at Parliament Square on 19 June 17. Photographer: Kate Green/ AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/uk/uk-pm-may-apologises-inadequate-grenfell-tower-fire-response/

Central African Republic: 100 killed in clashes between Muslims & Christians

By Hassan Isilow

 

JOHANNESBURG (AA): Some 100 people were reportedly killed in intense fighting that broke out Tuesday in the Central African Republic (CAR), local media and officials said Wednesday.

The Central African Republic’s news agency, Le Nouveau Centrafrique (LNC), said 110 people had been killed in clashes between the Christian militant group Anti-balaka and a faction of former Seleka fighters, a collection of mainly Muslim rebel groups.

The mayor of the eastern-central town of Bria, Maurice Belikoussou, was quoted by several media outlets confirming that up to ጤ people had been killed in fighting.

The clashes come barely a day after the country signed a peace deal Monday with 14 militant groups operating in the country.

The deal reached in Rome, brokered by the Santâ€Egido Catholic Community, called for an immediate end to hostilities in the African country.

“Intense shooting started at 6am (Tuesday); by 9:30am, we had already received 35 wounded patients at the hospital,” Doctors Without Borders said in a statement.

Mumuza Muhindo Musubaho, the group’s coordinator in Bria, said the injured mostly sustained gunshot wounds, but gave no number of fatalities.

The mineral-rich landlocked country descended into anarchy in 2013, when ex-Seleka rebels overthrew Christian President Francois Bozize, who had come to power in a 2003 coup.

Micheal Djotidia was then installed, becoming the country’s first Muslim president since its independence from France in 1960, but his reign was short-lived after regional leaders forced him to step down.

His exit in 2014 led to increased attacks on Muslims, forcing thousands to flee to neighboring Chad and Cameron.

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) peacekeeping force has yet to issue a statement on the latest clashes.

[Archive Photo: Pope Francis visits Central Mosque in Bangui, Central African Republic on 30 November, 2015. Photographer: Herve Serefio/AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/africa/central-african-republic-100-killed-fierce-clashes/

Belgium: Man reportedly carrying explosives shot in Brussels

By Ata Ufuk Seker, Hasan Esen, Serife Cetin

 

BRUSSELS (AA): A man carrying a belt with explosives was â€neutralized” at Brussels Central Station late Tuesday, according to Belgian news agency Belga.

Federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said at a news conference at the train station the incident is considered “as a terrorist attack”.

A small explosion was also heard, Belga reported.

“There were no further victims”, Sypt later confirmed the attacker was dead.

The police and military have taken measures in the surrounding areas, and roads near the station were closed to vehicle traffic and pedestrians. Police helicopters also flew above the area.

Tight security measures were also taken in areas near the Grand Palace tourist attraction.

The country’s threat level remains at 3.

Terror attacks at Belgium’s Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station in March 2016 killed 34 people.

 

[Photo: An armed soldier stands guard outside of the Brussels Central Station after a neutralized terrorist attack attempt, in Brussels, Belgium, 20 June 2017. Security measures are taken at Grand Place Square. Photgrapher: Muhabiri Dursun Aydemir/AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/europe/belgium-man-reportedly-carrying-explosives-shot-brussels/

US police pledge justice for slain Muslim teen

By Michael Hernandez

 

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Virginia (AA): Police in northern Virginia pledged Monday to pursue justice for a slain Muslim teen “to the fullest extent of the law”.

“While justice will not bring Nabra Hassanen back, justice will be done,” Fairfax County deputy police chief Lt. Col. Tom Ryan told reporters, reassuring the area’s Muslim community that local police are dedicated to their safety.

Nabra,಑, was the victim of an attack early Sunday police have blamed on “road rage.”

While attending an overnight event at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center mosque in Sterling, Virginia, Nabra and a group of as many as 15 teen left to go to a fast food restaurant early Sunday, police said.

As they were returning to the mosque before beginning their fast at sunrise for Ramadan, an altercation occurred between one of the group’s bicyclists and a motorist who police identified as Darwin Martinez Torres, 22.

Torres drove his car onto the sidewalk, forcing the group to scatter.

He caught Nabra, hitting her with a baseball bat and taking her with him in his car to a separate location police did not identify.

Martinez Torres was arrested approximately an hour-and-a-half later at 5.15 a.m. local time (0915GMT).

Nabra’s body was recovered in a pond in Loudoun County.

An autopsy determined her cause of death was blunt force trauma to the upper body.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova said police have not found evidence to support hate crimes charges.

“Law enforcement will not know for sure until the investigation uncovers all of the facts in the case,” she said, but “the fact remains that any violent murder is a senseless and a hateful act”.

Police official Lt. Bryan Holland said there is no indication racial slurs were spoken during the initial confrontation.

In the wake of the Virginia attack and a separate attack on Muslim worshippers in the U.K., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged the Americ an Muslim community to step up security as the end of Ramadan approaches.

“We urge community leaders to immediately request extra police patrols in the area of Ramadan-related activities and to hire security officers authorized to carry firearms to protect events with large numbers of participants,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, referring to the nightly taraweeh prayers during Ramadan and the festival of Eid ul-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan.

A vigil will be held Wednesday evening for Nabra. An online fundraiser has quickly collected over $210,000 of a $250ꯠ goal with 18 days remaining on the Launchgood campaign.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo of Nabra Hassanen killed in Virginia. Photo: Launchgood.com]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/islamophobia/us-police-pledge-justice-slain-muslim-teen/

Nigeria: Multiple explosions kill 12 in Borno State

By Olarewaju Kola

 

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AA): At least 12 civilians have been killed in multiple explosions in a remote area in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State.

Police said five suicide bombers simultaneously targeted Dalori Kofa, some eight kilometers (nearly five miles) to Maiduguri, provincial capital of Borno, the epicenter of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

The attacks occurred late Sunday night but details only emerged on Monday.

“Five female suicide bombers detonated IEDs [improvised explosive devices] strapped to their bodies in the Dalori Kofa community, police spokesman in the area, Victor Isuku said.

The first suicide bomber detonated near a mosque, killing seven people while the second blast occurred in a house killing five, Isuku said.

He added that the third explosion killed the three other remaining bombers.

In total, 12 civilians were killed and 11 injured, the police stated, blaming Boko Haram which has claimed responsibility for most of the bomb attacks in the area including the recent attack in Maiduguri on June 8, in which 13 people were killed.

[Map of Nigeira by AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/campaign-on-terror/nigeria-multiple-explosions-kill-12-borno-state/

UK: Muslim Welfare House terror attack: Man dies as van ploughs into worshippers

By Elham Asaad Buaras

 

London, (The Muslim News): A man has died and 10 people have been injured after white van ploughed 11 worshippers leaving a Muslim Welfare House in north London, in what Metropolitan police have called a Terrorist attack

 
The Metropolitan Police said eight people had been taken to hospital after the collision at the junction of Whadcoat Street and Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park on June 19.

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Police arrested a man who was held by members of the public. Eye witnesses say the driver of the van shouted: “I want to kill Muslims” as he ploughed pedestrians at 12.15am.

 
Adil Rana, 24, said: “The van was driving towards us to try and basically hit us at speed. When he got arrested, he was taunting, saying, ‘I’d do it again, I’d do it again’.

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The Metropolitan Police’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Neil Basu, said: “This is being treated as a terrorist attack and the Counter Terrorism Command is investigating.”

 
DAC Basu added: “The attack unfolded whilst a man was receiving first aid from the public at the scene. Sadly, he has died. Any causative link between his death and the attack will form part of our investigation. It is too early to state if his death was as a result of the attack.”

 
Theರ-year-old man suspected of being the van driver was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. He was taken to hospital as a precaution and will undergo a mental health assessment.

 
Prime Minister Theresa May who chaired an emergency Cobra meeting said, “All my thoughts are with the victims, their families and the emergency services on the scene.”

 
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “All of these are attacks on our shared values of freedom, of tolerance and of respect… and terrorism is terrorism, whether someone€™s inspired by an Islamist narrative or other forms of ‘inspiration’.”

 
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he had been in touch with local mosques, police and the council following the incident, which took place in his constituency and near his home.

 
“My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event,” Corbyn added.

 
Chief Executive of the Muslim Welfare House, Toufik Kacimi, said the man had to be rescued by the imam at the centre to stop him being attacked. Kacimi said when he did so, the driver said to him: “I’ve done my bit.”

 
Chair of Finsbury Park mosque nearby Mohammed Kozbar described the incident as “a cowardly attack which is no different than the attacks in Manchester and London, our community is in shock, our thought and prayer with those who have been effected by this”

 
Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) condemned the terrorist attack adding it was a “violent manifestation” of rising Islamophobia.

 

Secretary General of MCB, Harun Khan, said: “During the night, ordinary British citizens were set upon while they were going about their lives, completing their night worship. My prayers are with the victims and their families. It appears from eye witness accounts that the perpetrator was motivated by Islamophobia.”

 
He added, “Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia, and this is the most violent manifestation to date. Given we are approaching the end of the month of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid with many Muslims going to local mosques, we expect the authorities to increase security outside mosques as a matter of urgency.

 
Muslim communities have been calling for increased action to tackle the growth in hate crime for many years and transformative action must now be taken to tackle not only this incident but the hugely worrying growth in Islamophobia.”

 

[Photo: Photograph shows place [where police vans are] where the terrorist ploughed into the worshippers leaving Muslim Welfare House on Finsbury Park Road, London, using a van after prayers at 12.20 Monday morning 19 June 2017. Photographer: Ahmed J Versi/The Muslim News]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/uk/uk-muslim-welfare-house-terror-attack-man-dies-van-ploughs-worshippers/