Mosque attack in Egypt

The blight of terrorism continues.

Independent:  Egypt mosque attack: Death toll rises to 235, the deadliest terrorist atrocity in the country’s modern history

The death toll in a militant attack on a mosque in Egypt’s north Sinai region has risen to 235, Egyptian state television reported, quoting the public prosecutor.

Militants targeted members of Egypt’s security forces attending Friday prayers at the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, near Arish city.

They opened fire from four off-road vehicles on worshippers inside the mosque during the sermon, blocking off escape routes from the area by blowing up cars and leaving the burning wrecks blocking the roads, three police officers on the scene said.

Resident Ashraf el-Hefny said many of the victims were workers at a nearby salt firm who had come for Friday services at the mosque, which had contained some 300 worshippers.

Targeting innocent people at prayer is a crap sort of thing to do.

President Sissi condemned the extremist attack on a mosque in the troubled Sinai Peninsula, calling it “criminal” and “cowardly” and expressing condolences to the victims and their families.

Cowards.

Anti-Israel speech in Auckland mosque

Stuff reports:  Calls to expel Iran diplomat from NZ after fiery anti-Israel speech ‘fuels radicalism’

An Iranian diplomat has been accused of fuelling radicalism with a fiery, anti-Israel speech at an Auckland mosque.

Jewish community leaders want Hormoz Ghahremani, first secretary of the Iranian Embassy, to be expelled after he appeared alongside speakers who denied the Holocaust and called for the “surgical removal” of Israel.

In his speech, Ghahremani said Israel was trying to “deceive the world” by pretending to be an advocate of peace when in fact it was fuelling terrorism and extremism in the Middle East to divert attention from the Palestine issue.

Muslim nations needed to unite against “the anti-human regime of Israel and discern their common enemy with profound insight”, he said.

He said Quds Day was established “to deal a powerful punch to the mouth of the cancerous tumour known as evil Israel,” and cited Imam Khomeini as saying that “if every Muslim were to spit in the face of Israel, Israel would drown”.

The annihilation of the “Zionist regime” had begun, he said, and Israel would not last for another 25 years.

Community elder Sayed Taghi Derhami, a Mt Albert accountant, told attendees at the event that Israel was a “cancerous gland” that had to be “surgically removed”.

It’s good to see this exposed, but sad to see this sort of divisive rhetoric in New Zealand.

Members of the Jewish community say it’s outrageous that the representative of a foreign Government should make such comments. The speech was in June but has only just come to light.

Ghahremani told Stuff he agreed the speech could be seen as inflammatory, but it had to be taken in the context of the event at which it was given. He spoke at a gathering to mark the annual Quds Day, initiated by Iran in the 1970s to support Palestinians and oppose Zionism.

Contacted at the Iranian Embassy in Wellington, Ghahremani said his speech was supposed to be private and he was upset it had been put on the internet. “It was something private, a small gathering. I was there to reflect the position of the Iranian Government.

“We do not recognise the Israeli Government, that’s not a secret. But we are not against their existence.”

A small private gathering – but it is still inflammatory and divisive language. Someone saw a need to make it public – good on them.

But it needs to be remembered that that is just a small minority. Coincidentally:

News this weekend of the aggressively-worded speeches comes after rallies against racism. New Green MP Golriz Ghahraman denounced racism at a rally in front of Parliament on Saturday.

Extreme rhetoric comes from different minority groups.

Ghahraman, who came to NZ from Iran as a refugee as a child, said on Saturday night that she was concerned that racist rhetoric was becoming more common place in mainstream New Zealand politics. ​”We are seeing this insidious racism creep into the mainstream,” she warned. “It’s important to note the Holocaust was the most harrowing of crimes against humanity.”

Unsurprisingly Israelis are unhappy with the speeches.

Juliet Moses, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Council, said the fact an Iran Government representative was making such inflammatory statements was concerning. “It’s not a great surprise in one sense, because statements like this come from Iranian leaders all the time, but when those words are being spoken in New Zealand it’s a very different matter,” she explained.

“What audience is being spoken to here and what are they believing and what messages are they taking from that? Clearly Islamist terrorism is becoming more frequent in Western countries, and Jews are essentially at the coalface.”

Moses said she hoped the Government would investigate and take action against Ghahremani. “Expulsion might be an option.”

Expulsion is always an option, but I don’t know if it is justified in this case.

London Finsbury Park Mosque attack

Tensions have been raised and complicated by what is being treated as a terrorist attack with a van that hit people coming out of a mosque in London.

BBC:  ‘Major incident’ as van hits worshippers

Summary

  1. One man has died and 10 people have been injured
  2. Home Secretary Amber Rudd says it is being treated by police as a “terrorist incident”
  3. Muslim Council of Britain says van intentionally ran over worshippers
  4. A 48-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder
  5. The Metropolitan Police describe it as a “major incident”
  6. The area was busy with worshippers leaving evening prayers at Finsbury Park Mosque

Alleged attacker ‘acted alone’ – police

Asked about reports of a number of suspects running away from the van, the Met police said that was a key line of inquiry at the start of investigation.

“But from what we are seeing and what witnesses are reporting to us there was nobody else in the van, it appears that this time this attacker attacked alone,” Dep Asst Commissioner Basu said.

“This is not to say we are not investigating the full circumstances of how he came to be where he was but at this point in time there was nobody else in the van.”

Not the first terror attack against Muslims

This is not the first time that Muslims have been targeted in an apparent act of terrorism in the UK – and all the signs are that this terrible incident is nothing short of that.

The threat from extreme right-wing groups has been growing in recent years – 16% of all terror arrests in the year to March were classed as “domestic extremism”.

Those who have turned to violence have tended to go for visible Muslim targets – namely mosques.

In 2013 an extreme right-wing Ukrainian man murdered a Muslim grandfather in Birmingham and tried to bomb three mosques.

The following year saw the jailing for 10 years of a man from the north-west who was researching bomb-making and mosques to target.

And just last December the Home Secretary banned “National Action”, a group whose supporters have been investigated for planning violence.

It was probably just a matter of time before there was some sort of retaliatory attack in response to Muslim suicide attacks, but again innocent people have been targeted.

Difficult times for people in London and throughout England.

Any attack like this that targets random and innocent people must be condemned, no matter who the perpetrator is and no matter who the targets are.

 

Bomb plot accusation in Kansas

Three men have been arrested in Kansas. They have been charged with plotting to bomb an apartment building and mosque, targeting Muslims.

RNZ: Three US men accused of plot to bomb Somalis

Three men have been charged with plotting to bomb Somali immigrants at an apartment building and mosque in the US state of Kansas.

They allegedly planned to strike on 9 November, a day after the US elections.

The suspects had prepared a manifesto and conspired to detonate a bomb at apartments where Somalis were among some 120 residents, said prosecutors.

They allegedly discussed parking four explosives-packed vehicles at the corners of the complex to create a large blast in the meatpacking town.

Acting US Attorney Tom Beall said the eight-month investigation had taken FBI agents “deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence”.

Mr Beall said they ultimately decided to attack the building because of the number of Somalis who lived there.

Targeting groups of people and talking up hate may encourage nutters to consider doing this sort of thing. An escalation of violence is not good for anyone.