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Manchester attack: Who was the suspect Salman Abedi? – BBC News

Police have named 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi as the person suspected of carrying out the suicide attack at Manchester Arena on Monday evening.

Abedi was born in Manchester on New Year’s Eve 1994 to a family believed to be of Libyan origin, the BBC understands.

His parents escaped to Britain as refugees from Libya.

It is thought he has at least three siblings – an elder brother who was born in London, and a younger brother and sister who were born in Manchester.

He went to local schools, was a supporter of Manchester United football team and worked in a bakery.

Abedi is thought to have recently travelled abroad.

Abedi’s family lived at more than one address in the city, including a property at Elsmore Road in the Fallowfield area that was raided by police.

Officers also carried out a search of a property in Whalley Range.

Manchester is home to one of the largest Libyan communities in the UK and neighbours have talked about the family having a Libyan flag flying in its house at certain times of the year.

BBC home editor Mark Easton said the raided area was known to have been home to a number of Islamist extremists in recent years; some with links to Syria and Libya; some alive and some dead.

Salford University confirmed Abedi had been a student there and said it was assisting police with their inquiries.

A trustee of the Manchester Islamic Centre, also known as the Didsbury Mosque, told the Press Association it was likely Abedi had attended there.

Fawaz Haffar said Abedi’s father used to perform the call for prayer at the mosque, and one of his brothers had been a volunteer there.

Mr Haffar stressed the mosque was what he called a moderate, modern, liberal mosque, and he is a member of an organisation liaising with police, the Independent Advisory Group.

He said the priority for detectives was to establish whether Abedi was acting alone or working as part of a wider network when he set off his device after the concert by US singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 people and wounding 59 other.

A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the investigation.   »»» BBC News

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We have seen the pattern before. A young man born and raised in a Western country becomes a suicide bomber with ties to, or at least sympathy with, Da’esh (ISIS). The call to jihad to which he responded was not from the real Islam practised by over a billion Muslims. It is certainly not the Islam revealed in the Qur’an. The Da’esh blasphemers and heretics have taken credit for the attack, saying it was proper strike against the “worshipers of the Cross”. Over half the people in the Manchester arena were young people under the age of 16; some were a young as 8. The real Islam does not tolerate the murder of innocent children and does not speak about Christians with hate.

“…the nearest among the Muslims in love are those those who say, “We are Christians”: because amongst them are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.” Quran 5:82

“whosoever kills a human being for any reason other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth (terrorism or fomenters of sinful strife), it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saves the life of even one person, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” Qur’an 5:32

“Surely they that believe (Muslims), and the Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabeaans, anyone believes in God and the Last Day, and whose deeds are righteous will receive a reward from the Lord, and no fear shall be on them, nor shall they feel sorrow.” Qur’an 5:69

French centrist candidate Macron meets with head of leading Muslim group

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says the French state and the Muslim community are fighting on a “common front” against Islamic extremism.

Independent centrist Macron met Wednesday with the head of leading French Muslim group CFCM, Anouar Kbibech, just ahead of Sunday’s presidential election first round.

In a statement, Macron insisted on the importance of respecting France’s secular traditions but said they shouldn’t be used to target Muslims. Some Muslims feel unfairly targeted by French laws banning headscarves in schools and full-face veils in public.

Polls suggest Macron has a good chance of coming out on top of Sunday’s first round and reaching the May 7 runoff.

Also Wednesday, the Grand Mosque of Lyon issued an appeal urging Muslims to cast ballots instead of isolating themselves, “so that all the children of France, regardless of their skin color, their origins or their religion, are fully involved in the future of their country.”   »»» (USA)

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Muslims Condemn Terrorism and other things…

There is a website that has a collection of hundreds of cases where Muslims have condemned wrongdoings done falsely in the name of Islam. The site’s objective is to counter the untrue claim that Muslims do not criticize Muslim misdoings and thus support them.    »»» Muslims Condemn

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Face behind shocking Quebec mosque shooting revealed: A French Canadian university student

QUEBEC, Canada – French-Canadian university student Alexandre Bissonnette was charged on Monday with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting at a Quebec City mosque.

In a white prisoner suit, with his hands and feet in chains, Bissonnette did not enter a plea during a brief court appearance late on Monday.

The 27-year-old, charged with killing six men during evening prayers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center, had expressed his support for France’s right-wing politician Marine Le Pen and U.S. President Donald Trump on his Facebook page.

“It’s with pain and anger that we learn the identity of terrorist Alexandre Bissonnette, unfortunately known to many activists in Quebec for taking nationalist, pro-Le Pen and anti-feminist positions at Laval University and on social media,” Francois Deschamps an official of the group, Bienvenues aux Refugiés, or Welcome to Refugees, wrote on his Facebook page.

Besides the six dead, 19 more were wounded.

Of the five victims who were still in hospital, two were in critical condition, authorities said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard both condemned the terrorist attack in the strongest terms.

In an emotional message, speaking directly to the more than one million Muslims who live in Canada, the Canadian PM said, “We are with you.”

“Make no mistake, this was a terrorist attack. This was a group of innocents targeted for practicing their faith,” he said.

“To the more than 1 million Canadians who profess the Muslim faith, I want to say directly, we are with you; 36 million hearts are breaking with yours.”

He urged Canadians to stand in solidarity with those affected by the attack. “We will grieve with you, we will defend you, we will love you and we will stand with you.”

Trudeau along with the Quebec premier and an estimated 12,000 of others braved the winter cold to attend a candlelight vigil near the mosque to lay flowers and candles in the snow.Thousands of similar vigils were held across Canada on Monday, where people stood in solidarity with Muslims.

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Dutch Mosques Lock Their Doors During Prayer Times After Canada Attack

Four of the largest mosques in the Netherlands yesterday announced that they would lock their doors during prayer times after six people were killed in an attack on a mosque in the Canadian province of Quebec.

In a statement, the four mosques said, “We feel that we have to lock the doors of the mosque when prayers are taking place”. Many surveillance cameras have also been set up in the Al-Azraq mosque which is located in the south-western outskirts of the Dutch capital.

Thousands of worshippers take part in the prayers that are held in the four mosques daily. Saeed Bouhro told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the “barbaric acts such as the Quebec attack contribute to increasing the global hatred of Muslims”. He continued by saying that “the mosque is an open building that should be available at all times throughout the day for anyone looking for peace and tranquillity…But we must be cautious of such terrorist attacks. It is unfortunate that we are forced to take these strict safety procedures”.    »»» ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English ed.

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Canada Passes Motion Condemning Islamophobia

Canada is again setting the pace for promoting multiculturalism in the western hemisphere. Canadian parliament passed a federal motion condemning Islamophobia. The motion was based on an e-petition sponsored by parliamentarian Liberal MP Frank Baylis; the original e-petition received more than 70,000 votes. Here is the full text of the petition:


Islam is a religion of over 1.5 billion people worldwide. Since its founding more than 1400 years ago, Muslims have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the positive development of human civilization. This encompasses all areas of human endeavors including the arts, culture, science, medicine, literature, and much more;

Recently an infinitesimally small number of extremist individuals have conducted terrorist activities while claiming to speak for the religion of Islam. Their actions have been used as a pretext for a notable rise of anti-Muslim sentiments in Canada; and

These violent individuals do not reflect in any way the values or the teachings of the religion of Islam. In fact, they misrepresent the religion. We categorically reject all their activities. They in no way represent the religion, the beliefs and the desire of Muslims to co-exist in peace with all peoples of the world.

We, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to join us in recognizing that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam, and in condemning all forms of Islamophobia.

The motion was proposed earlier this year but was objected to by a number of conservative MPs. When it was voted on for a second time at the end of October, it was unanimously approved. Despite Canada having taken several steps to combat Islamophobia, Islamophobic attacks have more than doubled over the last 3 years.

The National Council of Canadian Muslim’s Executive Director, Ihsaan Gardee, said, “This motion sends a strong message to Canadians that discrimination and hatred against Muslims is unacceptable… Canadians want and expect strong leadership from our elected officials when it comes to fostering inclusive communities.”

At a time when the U.S.A. has elected a President who has vowed to put a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S., creating a database with personal information of American Muslims and sending Syrian refugees residing in the U.S. back to Syria, motions like this are a breath of fresh amidst a challenging climate. I may not live there, but just knowing the motion was passed, and that our Canadian brothers and sisters can rest a little easier at night, is a cherished thing; thank you, Canada.    »»» Sailan Muslim Foundation (Sri Lanka)

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A Wave of Harassment After Trump’s Victory

Hundreds of incidents of harassment and intimidation have been reported across the country since Election Day. Below are just a few:

• In Wellsville, N.Y., a softball dugout was spray-painted with a swastika and the words “Make America White Again.”

• At the University of Pennsylvania, black students were added without their permission to a group text-messaging chat about “lynching” using the app GroupMe. The creators of the group scheduled a a “daily lynching” through the app’s calendar.

• At York County School of Technology in York, Pa., white students walked through hallways carrying a Trump sign and shouting “white power.”

• At First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla., signs reading “whites only” and “colored” were posted above drinking fountains.

• In Koylton Township, Mich., a Mexican-American family woke to find a “wall” made of cardboard boxes blocking their driveway. The boxes and driveway were defaced with graffiti with references to Donald Trump.

• In Murfreesboro, Tenn., a gay couple found a note with a homophobic slur on their doorstep. The note was pinned to a package by a knife with a picture of Donald Trump on its handle.

• At the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Silver Spring, Md., a banner for a Spanish-language service was defaced with the words “Trump nation” and “whites only.”

• In Columbus, Ohio, a man approached a Muslim woman and her family while their car was stopped at a light. He banged on the car, shouted obscenities, photographed the children and told the woman, “you don’t belong in this country.”

• In Meriden, Conn., a man holding a Trump sign and waving an American flag was punched and kicked by two men.

• In Durham, N.C., two walls were spray-painted with the message “Black lives don’t matter and neither does your votes.”   »»» The New York Times

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Fremont hiker who wore a bandanna for sun protection finds anti-Muslim note on car

A hiker who wore a bandanna for sun protection returned from her walk to find an anti-Muslim note telling her to leave America.

Nicki Panchol, who is not Muslim but wore the headscarf to protect her skin against the harsh California sun, was horrified to find her car had been trashed, her purse stolen and the racist note on her car.

‘Hijab wearing bitch,’ the letter read. ‘This is our nation now get the fuck out’.

‘When I saw it, I was in shock,’ Panchol told the San Francisco Chronicle. ‘That someone would feel so much hate to do this. I realize that this is the climate after this election. But I didn’t realize someone would be so ignorant and in so much pain to cause so much harm.’

The 41-year-old, who has lupus, said she was left so shaken by the incident that she did not return to Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont, California, since the incident last week.

Police are still investigating the incident which they have classified as a hate crime.

Geneva Bosques, a spokeswoman for the Fremont Police Department, called the crime ‘very disturbing.’

‘We are obviously very upset and saddened that this happened in our community,’ she said.

Panachol had pulled into the Mission Peak Regional Preserve parking lot at around noon on November 14.

Carolyn Jones, public information supervisor for the East Bay Regional Park District, said the victim spent around an hour vlogging in the parking lot for a ‘peace project’ before setting out on the hike.

When she returned at 4pm, she discovered her car had been broken into; someone has smashed a window, and her purse was missing. She also found the upsetting note.

‘Everyone is welcome, and this is a deplorable thing,’ Jones said.

There has been a flurry of hate crimes against minorities following Donald Trump’s surprise election win earlier this month.

  • Just days after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, police said a female student at the University of Michigan was approached by a white man who threatened to set her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab. Police are still investigating the hate crime.
  • Two students at a vocational school in York County, Pennsylvania, held a Donald Trump sign in a hallway as someone shouted ‘white power,’ an incident captured on video and widely shared on Facebook.
  • In Silver Spring, Maryland, a banner advertising a Spanish-language service at an Episcopal church was slashed and the words ‘Trump nation. Whites only’ were written on the back.
  • Authorities on two California State University campuses, in San Diego and San Jose, were investigating reports that two women wearing headscarves were attacked.
  • At San Diego State University, authorities said a Muslim woman had her car keys and vehicle stolen by two men who targeted her while she wore a hijab and made comments about Donald Trump’s election.

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‘Hey ISIS, you suck’ US Muslim group says with giant billboard

What would the Prophet Muhammad think of the Islamic State group? Not much according to a non-profit US Muslim organisation that launched a poster campaign in the US this week.

Sound Vision used a giant billboard in a suburb of Chicago, saying “Hey ISIS, you suck”, quoting the Quran’s “Life is sacred” and signing it “From: #ActualMuslims”.   »»» Middle East Eye (UK)

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The unknown Muslim who has kept America safe

A Muslim American is the person “most responsible for keeping America safe since the Sept. 11 attacks,” wrote former CIA acting director Michael J Morell in the New York Times last week. Mr Morell was referring to “Roger”, an American convert to Islam (he cannot be identified because he still works for the agency) who headed the CIA’s counterterrorism centre for almost 10 years.

The extraordinary fact that American counterterrorism efforts were led by a Muslim for most of the past decade is unknown to most Americans, including Muslims. Yet it upends almost all stereotypes, even most positive perceptions, about the relationship between Muslim Americans and the dangers of, and responses to, terrorism.   »»» The National (UAE)

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