Saudi Arabia: 54 pilgrims die in Makkah before Hajj

By Fares Karam


RIYADH (AA): At least 54 Muslim pilgrims have died so far in Saudi Arabia’s city of Makkah in advance of this year’s annual Hajj pilgrimage, which is set to begin on Aug. 30, Saudi authorities announced Tuesday.

The authorities, however, have yet to provide reasons for the pilgrimsâ deaths, or their respective nationalities.

Since July 24, Muslims have converged on the holy city ” from all over the world — to perform the pilgrimage, which this year will begin on Aug. 30 and conclude on Sept. 4.

As of Monday, almost 729,000 pilgrims had arrived to the city, with hundreds of thousands more expected to come in days and weeks ahead.

During last year’s pilgrimage, almost 1.9 million pilgrims visited Mecca, according to official Saudi figures.

In January, Riyadh unveiled plans to increase the city’s pilgrim capacity after four consecutive years of declining numbers due mainly to the ongoing renovation of Makkah’s Grand Mosque Complex.

During the 2015 Hajj season, hundreds of pilgrims were killed in a deadly stampede near Makkah.

Tehran later blamed the tragedy on alleged mismanagement by the Saudi authorities, saying most of those killed had been Iranian nationals.

[Archive photo: Stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia during Hajj pilgrimage on 24 September, 2015. Photogrpher: Ozkan Bilgin/AA]

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Sierra Leone: Hundreds dead in Freetown mudslide

By Alpha Kamara


DAKAR, Senegal (AA): Hundreds of people were killed and many others remain trapped in their homes after a mudslide in Sierra Leonean capital Freetown Monday, according to hospital and relief agency officials. 2,000 people have been left homeless.

A hillside in the Regent area collapsed early on Monday following heavy rains, leaving many houses completely covered in mud.

Connaught hospital Mortuary Coroner Sinneh Kamara told national broadcaster SLBC Television that more than two hundred corpses had been collected so far.

“The bodies were collected in areas that experienced flooding and mudslide this morning in the city of Freetown,” Kamara said.

Sierra Leone Red Cross said it was responding to the disaster. â€We can confirm that our team on the ground has participated in recovering 312 bodies from the muds,” it said in a statement.

“Our nation has once again been gripped by grief. Many of our compatriots have lost their lives, many more have been gravely injured and billions of Leones’ worth of property destroyed in the flooding and landslides that swept across some parts of our city,” President Ernest Bai Koroma said.

“Every single family, every single ethnic group, every single region is either directly or indirectly affected by this disaster,” Koroma added.

Sierra Leonean Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh said it was “likely that hundreds more are lying dead underneath the rubble”.

“The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken,” Foh told national media.

Yasmin Ibrahim, a resident in one of the affected areas called Regent, said she saw three dead bodies of her neighbors being taken to a mortuary by an ambulance.

“I am afraid dozens more are trapped under the rubble,”she added.

In September 2015, a similar disaster in Freetown claimed the lives of nine people and displaced thousands others.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Residents walk through floodwaters in an area of Freetown, after landslides struck the capital of the west African state of Sierra Leone on August 14, 2017. Photographer: Stringer/AA]

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Philippines: Fighting between Moro groups kills 25

By Roy Ramos


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AA): At least 25 people have been killed in fighting between Moro armed men and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao.

Twenty of the fatalities are fighters from the Daesh-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Jamaatul Mujajideen Wal Ansar, said army spokesman Colonel Gerry Besana as reported by the state-run Philippine News Agency.

Five Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) members of MILF also were killed while 10 were injured, three of whom are in critical condition and being treated in a military hospital in the province.

Besana said the fighting erupted last August when the militants tried to enter a MILF identified area in Tee village but were asked to leave.

MILF BIAF spokesperson Von Al-Haq said in a radio interview they will fight this group until they are immobilized or no longer visible inside MILF controlled areas.

“This is to free the civilian communities from terror, fear, danger and possible devastation of their places from the hands of this group…Terrorists are the enemy of humankind and their beliefs are beyond the teachings of Islam,” Al-Haq was quoted by Luwaran, the official website of the MILF, as saying.

MILF, a rebel group based in the southern Philippines, signed a peace agreement with the government in March 20Ǯ but has yet to fully implement it.

The military has been working with MILF in the fight against terrorists that pledged allegiance to Daesh.

The entire island of Mindanao, where the province of Maguindanao is located, has been under martial law since May 23 until the year’s end following a siege by another Daesh-linked group in the city of Marawi.

[Map of Philippines showing Maguindanao and Mindanao By Eugene Alvin Villar/Creative Commons]

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France: Car rams pizzeria near Paris, killing young girl

By Murat Unlu


PARIS (AA): A 13-year-old girl was killed and 12 others were injured when a man drove his car into the outdoor terrace of a pizzeria east of Paris, officials said late Monday.

Speaking to French broadcaster BFM television, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet confirmed the incident, saying four of those injured are in critical condition following the attack in Seine-et Marne.

The 32-year-old driver was arrested, officials said, adding that although he deliberately targeted the crowd, there was no evidence it was an act of terror.

Brandet told reporters the driver was not known to intelligence or police.

He added that the driver was believed to have tried to commit suicide a week ago.

France has been on high alert with enhanced security measures in the wake of deadly terror attacks over the last two years.

Last week, at least six French soldiers were injured when a vehicle drove into them in the northwestern Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret.

[Map of France by Creative Commons]

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‘At the Stroke of Midnight My Entire Family Was Displaced’


August marks the 70th anniversary of the end of British colonial rule in India and the creation of the two independent countries of India and Pakistan, carved along religious and political lines. More than 10 million people were uprooted. We asked readers how they or their families were affected. These are some of their stories.

The author’s mother, Rashida Begum, and father, Malik Fazal Haq, in photos taken around 10 years before partition.CreditCourtesy of Tariq Malik

‘Was he calling out for me?’

In 1947 I was 10. We lived in comfort in Jammu and Kashmir state.

We lost everything at the time of the creation of Pakistan. Things can be replaced, not lives.

My father, an intellectual and educationalist, was murdered. Eight of us crossed into Pakistan dressed in summer clothes and nothing else. Winter came and we had nothing to wear and no roof over our heads. By the following summer my feet had outgrown my shoes and I had to walk barefoot on scorching earth. My feet sometimes still feel that hot surface.

Even today I get nightmares about my father’s murder. As a physician I wonder how the end came. Was he in pain, was he cold, was he thirsty, was he calling out for me?


— Tariq Malik

Suman and Anand Khorana.CreditDr. A. B. Khorana

‘My father recalled hiding in a Muslim family’s house’

My father, Anand B. Khorana, was about 10 years old at the time of partition. His father was a civil engineer and the whole family (my grandparents, father and his five siblings) had recently moved into a new home they built as a mark of their “middle-class” status. The oldest child, a daughter, had recently become engaged. The family had lived for generations in the state of Punjab and could not conceive of living any place else. As my late father told it, everyone had heard rumblings about the state being divided into a Pakistani half and an Indian half, but few thought it would happen imminently.

At the stroke of midnight my entire family was displaced. Their land and home were deemed to be on the Pakistani side and in a few days it was pretty clear that a Hindu family, regardless of their prior status, was in danger. I don’t know all the details but, unlike most families who decided to emigrate immediately (many losing their lives on the trains in the process), my father’s family went into hiding for a few months. My father recalled hiding in a Muslim family’s house (a former employee of my grandfather’s).

Eventually, things calmed down and the family made the trek to India and resettled, initially in Delhi in refugee quarters. My grandfather was able to find a job similar to his prior one. All of their property, including the house they had recently built, was lost but the family was grateful to have made it out alive — unlike so many others. The only person believed lost was the eldest daughter’s fiancé but, a year later, she spotted him at a train station in Delhi. They married and had several children.

— Alok A. Khorana

The Ghosh family, c. 1972. The author is in her father’s arms.CreditCourtesy of Madhushree Ghosh

‘We carried the heavy utensils, because we thought copper was more valuable than silver’

My parents were young when they walked from what’s now Bangladesh to India. Baba called East Pakistan “home” until he died in 2004. His family, landowners in Dhaka, fled with their belongings; copper utensils, large bowls, plates. He used to say, “We never needed anything, so we didn’t know the value of money. We carried the heavy utensils, because we thought copper was more valuable than silver. We were children, what were we to do?

When Baba’s bank job moved him to New Delhi, he spent days recreating his childhood vegetable garden. Cabbage, cauliflower, peas, spinach, okra, we had it all. He used to say, “Our pumpkins were bigger than the sun!” and I would believe him. Everything in Bangladesh, the place he left, was better. The roses were more fragrant, the eggplants more purple, the fish were fresher — Delhi could never compete.

Ma was 12 when her family fled Barisal for Kolkata. They sold everything, including Maâ€s favorite school books. She mourned those books until she died, in 2008. But she was proud that she hadn’t marked any of them with a pen or pencil. “They were pristine,” she would say, “so Thakur da could sell them at a premium. That money helped us escape.”

— Madhushree Ghosh

The author’s father and mother, c. 1960.CreditCourtesy of Peter Jones Jr.

‘My siblings and I have been effectively stateless’

My father’s family was part of the British colonial administration. During partition my father was in Pakistan attending school while the rest of his family was in Pune, India. As hostilities erupted between Hindus and Muslims, my father was cut off from his family. He couldn’t get British citizenship because most of his papers were lost during the upheaval. So, in the ’50s, he made his way to the United Arab Emirates by ship and started a family there.

My siblings and I have been effectively stateless. Although we are familiar with Indian and Pakistani culture, we belonged to neither culture. We grew up in the Middle East, in Dubai, among other Asians but could not identify with them.

— S. Jones

The author’s father and mother in the late ’40s/early ’50s.Credit

‘He would never forgive himself if anything happened to her’

When partition was announced, my father, who worked for the British Indian Government, was posted in Bombay. He was advised that as a Muslim he would have better career opportunities in Pakistan. He was asked to report to offices in Rawalpindi as soon as possible. He left and my mother, Rosy, who was 20, and their six-month-old daughter stayed behind until he could arrange for their accommodation. Because of the chaos he could not come back to get them, so he asked my mother to take a train to Lahore. On the train a Sikh gentleman noticed my mother alone with an infant and asked her where she was going. When she told him Lahore, he was shocked and told her about the massacres that were taking place on trains going to Pakistan — my mother and father hadn’t known.

He said he was traveling to Amritsar (30 miles from Lahore) but would accompany her to Wagah, a border town between India and Pakistan, because he would never forgive himself if anything happened to her. He told my mother that if anyone asked, she was his daughter. He thought her name, Rosy, was fine since it was secular. But my sister’s name, Shahina, was distinctly Muslim, so if anyone asked her name was Nina.


He stayed with them until Wagah and walked with them to the Pakistani border, kissed them both on their foreheads and told them he wished he could take them all the way to Lahore, but he would not make it back alive.

My sister, who lives in Karachi, is still called Nina by everyone in the family. My mother insisted on that.

— Sohail Murad

The authorâ€s father, left, grandfather and grandmother, a few years after partition.CreditCourtesy of Kanwal Prakash Singh

‘We prayed as we imagined the worst. Almighty God had other plans.’

On Sept. 7, a bespectacled Sikh man, much like my father, was killed in town and a rumor spread that he had come to set fire to the local mosque.

The next day dislocated families from surrounding villages who had taken shelter in schoolyards, grain markets and other vulnerable locations were attacked. I can still hear the cries of people shot or stabbed outside the Gurdwara and the gunfire that began around 4 p.m., as the last train left the Jaranwala Railway Station, in Pakistan, and continued into the evening.

That night women and children were sheltering in a room on the second floor of the Gurdwara with instructions on what to do if the militia broke through the doors and entered the temple. The thought still gives me chills. The temperature outside was in the 90s Fahrenheit, but inside the heat was oppressive. Some men stayed on the main floor or on the rooftop lookout, armed with sticks, swords, a pistol and one double-barreled gun. We were certain our end was imminent. We prayed as we imagined the worst.

Almighty God had other plans. For the next three days we holed-up in the Gurdwara. Our ranks swelled with the addition of the injured who were able to escape. We heard rumors that we would be attacked on Sept. 12, after Friday prayers. But there was a knock at the giant door of the temple around 10 a.m. and four Sikh military officers ordered us to leave in ten minutes and said they would escort us to the caravan of refugees that was passing. Everyone scrambled and ran with the clothes on their backs, relieved and hopeful to live another day or die with others traveling toward the new border and sanctuary of India.

— Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh

Left to right, Zafar Abbas, Mazhar Abbas, Tariq Abbas, the author’s father, and other relatives, on a train from India to Pakistan.CreditCourtesy of Amber Abbas

‘I was probably the first member of my family to visit the home since 1947â€

My father was a refugee and a migrant. As his child I have lived a peripatetic life, but have always been able to maintain connections with my family in Pakistan. I lived in Aligarh while I was researching my dissertation and visited the home where my father and my grandmother were born. I met the son of the family who had migrated from Lahore and received the home as refugee property (though he had been born later, in independent India). I was probably the first member of my family to visit the home since 1947 and met people who remembered my family, who were known for their love of rooftop kite flying. The family who lives there now sent homemade sweets for me to take to my Pakistani family.

— Amber Abbas

My parents with me in Calcutta at my Mundan ceremony, c. 1954.CreditCourtesy of Ripudaman Malhotra

He spent days carrying two Muslims from the East to the West’

My mother’s younger brother lived in Jammu and must have been a lad of 15 at the time of the partition. He was aware of the mass violence around him, but he did not take up arms and perpetuate the violence. He was a strong swimmer, and he spent days carrying two Muslims from the East to the West and then two Hindus from the West to the East on his shoulders — back and forth. My uncle’s story reminds me that people can stop the cycle of violence.

— Ripudaman Malhotra

The author’s father, left, and grandfather.CreditCourtesy of Ritesh Batra

‘It was not a national tragedy for him, but a very personal one’

My paternal grandfather and grandmother moved to Bombay during partition with their two little sons. I shared a room with my grandfather growing up and heard stories of how things were before and silences about what happened during. In his last year my grandfather would often weep about partition. It was not a national tragedy for him, but a very personal one.

My maternal grandfather moved to Lucknow in India at the height of the violence. They lost many cousins and relations, but the immediate family made it safely. He restarted an optical shop called Lahore Opticals, named after the city of his birth, and became successful. When Hindu-Muslim strife breaks out in India, the shop is invariably targeted. But my grandfather never changed the name. His shop is now run by my uncle and is still named after the city they fled, now in Pakistan.


— Ritesh Batra

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Gandhi Won’t Leave India

But has it vanished?

Indians, like people anywhere, do not want to hate. They do not want to hug suspicions, fears. But there are those, very political, ambitious and selfish people — men, mostly — who want to use incipient suspicion and fear to control their fellow citizens, turn India into a Hindu rashtra. And bigots on the other side, extremists using the name of Islam, feed Hindu communalism with just what extremists need to stay in business: the violent “other.â

And they love to foment fear. Some fears are real as, for instance, the fear of terrorism, of armed attacks from across borders, of externally orchestrated insurrection. But many other fears are fiction, such as the fear of a Muslim population explosion, a Muslim jihad. And Pakistan’s unpredictable militaristic politics, ever keeping an already conflicted Kashmir in ferment, helps the fire burn.

Two ways of life face India today. A path that wants Indians to have freedom of conscience, thought and speech so that the best ideas and energies can be devoted to raising up the poor, the marginalized and the discriminated and making India a republic for all its citizens. And the road that wants India to be dominated by one political and religious order, one majoritarian grip on all, making India a nation of stark uniformity, a Hindu rashtra.

Who are the Indians seeking a Hindu nation? They are the followers of the Hindu part of the Two Nations theory. Hate, they say, the one who wears clothes different from yours. Mistrust the one who eats foods different from yours, speaks and writes differently, sings songs that are not yours and — most crucially, who prays to a god not yours. If he does all that and even questions some of your beliefs, he is antinational, so just tell him to get out. So it goes, the new majoritarian rhetoric.

Democracy is about majority rule, not majoritarian tyranny. What is under attack in India is not just Hindu-Muslim concord, but the right of all minorities — ethnic, linguistic, regional, political, social and cultural — to be themselves, to be equal, to be free. Dissent, free speech and the freedom to choose with confidence and without fear are under strain.

On Gandhi’s 75th birthday in񎦘, Albert Einstein wrote in a book of felicitations, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” When Einstein said “will scarce believe,” he had in mind Gandhi’s distinctive capacity for nonviolent resistance.

Einstein knew of Gandhiâs having been pitched out of a train in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, because of the color of his skin. He knew that Gandhi led the subsequent resistance by Indians in South Africa against discriminatory treatment, and he knew of his nonviolent ability to suffer persecution and humiliation without physical retaliation.


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Gandhi bore no hatred for his oppressors, did not speak or write a harsh word about them but, with his large and growing band of associates, offered the toughest resistance through what he called satyagraha, or soul force. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela found this capacity in Gandhi compelling, exemplary and even sublime.

Gandhi’s satyagraha was famously illustrated in the Salt March in 1930, when he walked 240 miles with his followers to the village of Dandi on the Arabian Sea in western India. The British had banned the villagers from making salt through seawater reclamation unless they paid a tax. Gandhi, who described it as a “battle of right against might,” lifted a fistful of salt and auctioned it, repudiating the tax and challenging the empire.

At the saltworks nearby, colonial police attacked Gandhi’s nonviolent followers. An American reporter, Webb Miller, who witnessed them being struck with murderous blows from lathis, or police batons, wrote, “So far as I could observe the volunteers implicitly obeyed Gandhi’s creed of nonviolence. In no case did I see a volunteer even raise an arm to deflect the blows from lathis.” Gandhi’s march and breaking the prohibition on salt shook the Raj.

Was Gandhi a perfect man or leader? Certainly not. “Ask Mrs. Gandhi,†he would say. He was his own most exacting critic and wrote frank admissions of his flaws and failures.

The Gandhi of a hundred battles, scarred but not fallen, is facing his greatest challenge in India today. The challenge of neglect, of obfuscation, of cunning co-option. Marigolds are still heaped on his images, the more plentifully by those who hate his truth-telling spirit. Gandhi refuses to be smothered. I will not leave you, he seems to say once more. To another generation of enemies of peace and destroyers of social trust, Gandhi speaks yet again, the voice of right against might. And is again, unbelievable.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi teaches a course on Indian Civilization at Ashoka University in Sonipat, India.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on August 15, 2017, on Page A1 of the National edition with the headline: The force of Gandhi won’t leave.

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US: Trump adviser: any attack to cause fear ‘is terrorism’

By Michael Hernandez


WASHINGTON (AA): The suspect in a fatal car attack on a group of people protesting a white supremacist rally, may have been involved in domestic terrorism, President Donald Trump’s national security advisor suggested Sunday.

“Anytime that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it is terrorism, it meets the definition of terrorism,” H.R. McMaster told ABC News.

“What you see here, is you see someone who is a criminal, who is committing a criminal act, against fellow Americans, a criminal act that may have been motivated by, and we’ll see what’s turned up in this investigation, by this hatred and bigotry,” he added.

James Alex Fields Jr., 20, was identified as the driver of the silver Dodge Charger that plowed into a crowd in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday. Heather Heyer, a paralegal, walking with counter protestors was killed in the crash and nearly 20 others were injured.

Fields Jr. was photographed on the front line with other white men holding a shield emblazoned with the black and white emblem of one of the hate groups that participated in the Friday to Saturday white supremacist rally.

The group, Vanguard America, has denied Fields is a member.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) describes Vanguard America as “a white supremacist group that opposes multiculturalism and believes America is an exclusively white nation”.

Vanguard America uses the Nazi slogan “blood and soil” to romanticize the connection between whites and America, according to the ADL. Blood and soil was chanted by hundreds of white nationalists Friday night carrying lit tiki torches through Charlottsville.

The slogan was also prominent in white supremacist gatherings Saturday.

Trump has faced a range of criticism for his failure to explicitly condemn the white nationalists, who violently clashed with counter-protesters during the two-day rally in Virginia. His silence is contrary to his insistence on explicitly referring to terrorist acts carried out by Muslims as “radical Islamic terrorism”.

œHe didn’t call out the white supremacists responsible for the violence,” ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos said. “When it comes to radical Islamic terrorism, the president said you can’t solve the problem if you don’t say the name. Doesn’t that hold true for domestic terrorism as well?”

McMaster responded by saying Trump “called out anyone, anyone who is responsible for fomenting this kind of bigotry, hatred, racism, and violence” in his condemnation Saturday.

“I think the president was very clear on that,â he said.

[Photo: Police, medical personnel, and other protestors attend to the injured people after a car rammed into a crowd of anti-White Supremacy protestors in Charlottesville, Va., USA on August 12, 2017. Photographer: Samuel Corum/AA]

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Burkina Faso: Turkish restaurant attack leaves 17 dead in Ouagadougou

By Alpha Kamara

DAKAR, Senegal (AA): At least 17 people have been killed and 12 others injured in an attack on a Turkish restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital, police said Monday. Two terrorist attackers have been killed by security forces.

The attack started when “three or four” gunmen pulled up on motorbikes at the Aziz Istanbul restaurant in Ouagadougou at around 9.30 p.m. (2130GMT) Sunday and started shooting.

Communications Minister Remis Dandjinou told state broadcaster Radio Television du Burkina that three attackers were later killed by security forces.

The police operation lasted until early Monday morning.

Dandjinou described the incident as a “terrorist attack”. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Local journalist Francois Brado told Anadolu Agency that police said the victims were of different nationalities, including French and Turkish.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that one of the victims was Turkish.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that a Turkish citizen was among the dead and another one is among the injured,” the ministry said in a statement.

“We strongly condemn the terrorist attack that happened in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou yesterday evening, which caused the death and injury of scores. We convey our condolences to families of victims and wish a speedy recovery to the brotherly Burkina Faso people.”

In January 2016, 30 people were killed in a similar attack on the Splendid hotel in Ouagadougou perpetrated by al-Qaida-linked militants.

[Photo: Security forces stand guard in front of a barrier as they take security measures after a terrorist gunmen attack at a restaurant on Kwame Nkrumah Avenue in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on August 14, 2017. Photographer: Olympia De Maismont/AA]


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US: Suspect who drove car into crowd charged with murder at hate march

By Michael Hernandez


WASHINGTON (AA): One suspect was charged late Saturday with second-degree murder and other charges after a woman was killed at a counter protest march to a white nationalist rally in the state of Virginia.

Authorities identified James Alex Fields Jr., 20, as the driver of a car that plowed into a crowd in Charlottesville. An unidentified female pedestrian was killed and dozens of others were injured in the crash.

Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency amid the violent clashes between hundreds of white nationalists and the counter demonstrators.

Riot gear-clad police officers ordered protesters to disperse after clashes quickly escalated in the southern city’s Emancipation Park. But as the climate calmed Fields allegedly drove his car into a group of counter-protestors.

Police Chief Al Thomas said some of the 35 victims sustained life-threatening injuries.

Video of the incident shows a car speeding down a narrow street filled with protesters before slamming into protesters and sending them ariborne, ultimately stopping only when it hit a line of cars. Fields then put the car in reverse and zoomed away.

McAuliffe told the white supremacist marchers to “go home and never come back,” during a news conference in which he said he spoke to President Donald Trump and impressed upon him the need to end hate speech by the country’s leaders.

Officials said separately, two people were killed when a police helicopter involved in handling the protests crashed just outside the city.

Speaking from his New Jersey golf club, Trump condemned this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides”.

But Trump’s failed attempt to condemn the act as terrorism was met with harsh criticism.

Republican strategist Ana Navarro commented on Trump’s statement and said: ‘This is not “many sides”. It’s White Supremacist Terrorism. The President of the United States does not have the spine to say so. Shameful.’

Other Republican leaders like Florida Sen Marco Rubio called out the president for not describing the events in Charlottesville for what they were, ‘a terror attack by #whitesupremacists’.

Cruz called for the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute the individual responsible for the ‘terrorist’ act.

White nationalists were protesting the looming removal of a Robert E. Lee monument from Emancipation Park.

Lee was the rebel confederacy’s top general in America’s civil war, and calls have grown for confederate symbols to be removed from public spaces after a series of violent attacks that have been tied to white nationalists/supremacists, which regularly use such imagery.

On Friday night hundreds marched through the University of Virginia campus holding torches in a scene reminiscent of Ku Klux Klan gatherings that haunted America’s civil rights movement.

“You will not replace us”, and “Jew will not replace us” were chanted as an eerie torchlight glow enveloped the campus.

Former Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke attended the rally as well as other prominent white nationalist leaders.

University President Teresa A. Sullivan strongly condemned the rally, saying in a statement she was “deeply saddened and disturbed by the hateful behavior displayed by torch-bearing protestors that marched on our Grounds”.

The two-day protest is thought to be the largest recent gathering of white nationalists.

Activists have warned of an emboldening of the group since Trump won last years presidential race. And hate incidents targeting minorities have soared this year.

*Anadolu Agency photographer Samuel Corum contributed to this report

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Police, medical personnel, and other protestors attend to the injured people after a car rammed into a crowd of anti-White Supremacy protestors in Charlottesville, Va., USA on August 12, 2017. Photographer: Samuel Corum/AA]

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Pakistan: Attack on army vehicle kills 15 in Quetta

By Aamir Latif


KARACHI, Pakistan (AA): At least 15 people were killed and some 40 injured, eight of the wounded were in critical condition, in a suicide attack on an army vehicle in southwestern Pakistan on Saturday night, according to army officials and local media.

The powerful blast struck a military vehicle at a busy street in Quetta — the capital of southwestern Balochistan province — killing at least 15 people, provincial government’s spokesman, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar told reporters.

According to the Pakistan army, terrorists attacked the military vehicle with incendiary explosive. The military’s media wing, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement the dead included eight troops and seven civilians.

Among the injured, there were 10 troops, the statement added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, however Taliban militants, and Baloch separatists have been involved in attacks on security forces in the recent past.

Mohammad Irfan, an eyewitness from Civil Hospital Quetta, told Anadolu Agency by telephone that at least four bodies were badly burned and beyond recognition.

Several cars parked at the site caught fire after the blast, which also smashed window shutters and doors of the nearby buildings and shops.

Provincial Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti told local Dunya TV that emergency was imposed in all Quetta hospitals, and additional paramedics were called in.

Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa termed the attack an attempt to mar the Aug. 14 Independence Day celebrations. He said Pakistan army would not “succumb to any challenge”.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi strongly condemned the terror attack.

“We will continue to work to eliminate the menace of terrorism from our country,†the Prime Minister said

The large Balochistan province, which is also considered to cover parts of neighboring Iran and Afghanistan, is strategically important because of the rich presence of copper, zinc and natural gas but has beset by violence for over six decades, with separatists claiming that it was forcibly incorporated into Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947.

Various sectarian outfits, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, have also been active in the region, especially in Quetta for the last decade.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: A burning vehicle is seen after powerful suicide bomber struck a military vehicle at a busy street in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Balochistan province, Pakistan on August 12, 2017. Photographer: Mazhar Chandio/AA]

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