Salih Khater: Birmingham shop manager from Sudan named as Westminster car attack suspect

Salih Khater: Birmingham shop manager from Sudan named as Westminster car attack suspect

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Salih Khater: Birmingham shop manager from Sudan named as Westminster car attack suspect.

AIWA! We Press//The man accused of launching a terror attack in Westminster is Salih Khater, a British citizen who moved to the UK from Sudan, AIWA! We Press has learned.

A flat where he previously lived in Birmingham was among three properties being searched by police as they investigate the 29-year-old’s possible motivations.

He was “not cooperating” with the investigation overnight and remains in police custody.

He said he studied at Sudan University of Science and Technology and went to school in Wad Madani, a city south-east of Khartoum.

Mr Khater’s page shows a mixture of connections based mainly in Sudan, Birmingham and Nottingham – the two cities that are now the focus of operations by counterterror police.

Investigators are searching his former flat above a row of shops in Sparkbrook, near where the first Westminster attacker Khalid Masood lived.

The area was the home of several terrorists, including UK’s first suicide bomber, its first al-Qaeda plotter, one of one of the financiers of the 9/11 attacks and several extremists who went to fight for Isis.

Salih Khater, in a picture posted on Facebook in 2010 (Facebook)

Police also raided another property in Birmingham and a flat in Nottingham that was said to be rented by several Sudanese men.

No arrests have so far been made in the operations and police are not believed to be hunting for any other suspects over the alleged attack.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK counterterror policing, said the suspect was not known to MI5 or counterterror police.

Mr Basu added: “Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident … no other suspects at the scene have been identified or reported to the police.

“There is no intelligence at this time of further danger to Londoners or the rest of the UK connected to this incident.”

Investigators tracked the path of the silver Ford Fiesta used in the attack to find that it was driven around London for almost eight hours before ploughing into cyclists and smashing into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.

Police officers guarding the area had to leap out of the car’s path before armed colleagues rushed to detain the driver early on Tuesday morning.

The vehicle had driven from Birmingham late on Monday and arrived in the capital just after midnight, being potted in the central Tottenham Court Road area – a famous shopping and nightlife district – from 1.25am until around 6am.

It was then driven to Westminster and circled around the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall until the crash shortly after 7.30am.

Footage showed the car sharply swerving through several cyclists and pedestrians, over central reservations and down the wrong side of the road at high speed before crashing into security barriers.

It struck during parliament’s summer recess and ahead of the daily rush of tourists to the area, leaving it relatively deserted.

Three people suffered non life-threatening injuries in the attack, including a man and woman who needed hospital treatment but have since been discharged.

Theresa May vowed that terrorists would “never succeed” in dividing Britain, after Donald Trump took to Twitter to blame “crazy animals” for the attack.

It struck just metres from where Masood stabbed a police officer to death after running down four pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge in March 2017, in the first terror attack claimed by Isis in the UK.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the area could be pedestrianised in a bid to ward off vehicle attacks, amid a fresh review of security around the Houses of Parliament.

(PA)
In the past 17 months, Westminster has been hit by two attacks and was the planned location of four disrupted plots, making it currently the biggest since terror target in Britain.

Ms Dick said: “You will notice that the security around parliament both in terms of armed officers and police officers and physical barriers has been further enhanced over the last several months and there is more to come on that in further months.

”Whether that area outside should be pedestrianised further, there should be further physical works done, I think is a matter that will be discussed no doubt between parliamentary authorities, us, the intelligence agencies and indeed the local authorities and the mayor.“

She said vehicles had “become a weapon of choice” for terrorists, following a spate of similar attacks across Europe.

Isis has issued advice to its followers non how to carry out atrocities using vehicles, knives and other easily obtained items, which have made attack plans faster and harder to spot for authorities.​

At a briefing for journalists in Westminster, the prime minister’s spokesman said 13 Islamist and four far-right plots have been foiled since the first Westminster attack in March 2017 – an average of one a month.

A total of 676 terrorism investigations by MI5 and counterterrorism police were underway by the end of June this year, up from around 500 just four months before.

‘Sudanese immigrant terror attacker’ who drove around London for hours before smashing his car into cyclists outside Parliament leaving 15 hurt

Salih Khater, from Birmingham, veered off road into pedestrians and cyclists at Parliament Square at 7.37am 

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London Parliament car crash: UK police treat incident as terrorist act; all you need to know//The Indian Express
  • Emerged 29 year old drove from flat in Hall Green, Birmingham, to London on Monday before driving around
  • Crash came 17 months after Khalid Masood killed 5 on Westminster Bridge before murdering PC Keith Palmer
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Global media reaction to London terror attack

Salih Khater, 29, veered off the road careering into pedestrians and cyclists at Parliament Square, after spending the night cruising around London.

There were screams as the Ford Fiesta mounted the pavement and mowed people down at up to 50mph at 7.37am.

In a chilling echo of Khalid Masood’s murderous rampage on Westminster 17 months ago, the driver, from Birmingham, sped towards the Palace of Westminster – narrowly missing two police officers guarding the access road who jumped out of his path. He then smashed into a security barrier outside Parliament.

Despite hitting at least 15 cyclists and pedestrians during rush hour, no one was killed with only one female cyclist seriously injured.

Within minutes the driver, dressed in a white shirt, jeans and a black puffa jacket, was dragged from the driving seat of the crumpled vehicle by armed officers.

The terror suspect – thought to be a lone wolf – remained strangely calm and utterly silent, offering no resistance as he was handcuffed.

Police found no weapons or explosives.

Last night it emerged Khater, who was said to be of Sudanese origin, drove from his rundown flat in Hall Green, Birmingham, to London on Monday evening arriving just after midnight.

Salih Khater, 29, veered off the road careering into pedestrians and cyclists at Parliament Square, after spending the night cruising around London
Emerged 29 year old Salih Khater drove from flat in Hall Green, Birmingham, to London on Monday before driving around

A Huge Win For Those Who Don’t Share Trump’s Twisted Vision Of America

Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. 2018-08-12 (5).png.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH ~~(CNN) To say that the Muslim and Arab-American communities were overjoyed by Rashida Tlaib’s victory in Michigan’s Democratic congressional primary on Tuesday is an understatement. My email inbox and my Facebook newsfeed were overflowing with both Muslim and Arab American organizations cheering her stunning win.

And since Tlaib is running without a Republican opponent in this November’s general election, she’s expected to become the first Muslim woman ever elected to Congress. (To date, there have been two Muslim men in Congress, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.))

But Tlaib, who is Muslim and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, didn’t just score a win for the Muslim and Arab communities on Tuesday. In fact, less than 5% of her congressional district identifies as Arab American. Tlaib’s triumph was a victory for the America I choose to believe in. In a time in which Donald Trump openly demonizes minorities and gins up hate of those who look or pray differently, this was a victory for the American ideals of tolerance and pluralism.
First, though, I want to share as a Muslim American why Tlaib’s success was such a needed boost. This may surprise some, but the anti-Muslim rhetoric during the 2016 presidential campaign didn’t start with Trump. Rather, it began in earnest with then GOP presidential candidate, Ben Carson, who now serves as Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
It was September 2015 when Carson made headlines declaring that a Muslim American should not serve as president because they would be more loyal to their religion than America. Carson added that he didn’t believe Islam was consistent with the US Constitution.
What was the reaction to this comment? Carson surged in the GOP primary polls and raised $1 million dollars in the 24 hours following his bigoted remark.
Trump noticed how well anti-Muslim hate played with the GOP base, commenting just a few weeks later about Carson: “He’s been getting a lot of ink on the Muslims and other things.” Trump then candidly added, “And I guess people look at that and they probably like it. Some people thought they wouldn’t like it, but they probably do.”
It was no coincidence that just a few months later, on December 7, 2015, Trump infamously called for banning an entire religion of over 1 billion people from American soil. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” he told the crowd at his rally.
From there, Trump claimed on the campaign trail that “Islam hates us.” As President, Trump continued ginning up fear of Muslims with his repeated attempts to impose a travel ban from several Muslim majority countries. And last November, Trump even retweeted anti-Muslim videos that had been created by one of the United Kingdom’s most notorious hate groups.
Trump’s drumbeat of demonization of Muslims comes with a human cost. We have seen a 15% spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the last year, ranging from attacks on women wearing hijabs to death threats to our places of worship being bombed. And there has been an alarming increase in bullying of Muslim-American students simply for their faith, with more than half of these students reporting bullying incidents in 2017.
But what might surprise some is that despite this climate — or more accurately because of it — there are a record number of Muslim Americans seeking elected office in 2018, with over 90declaring their candidacies. One notable race takes place this Tuesday in Minnesota where State Representative Ilhan Omar, if she wins the Democratic primary, would likely join Tlaib as the second Muslim woman in Congress.

 

And in Michigan last Tuesday, in addition to Tlaib, two other Muslim Americans were on the ballot seeking Democratic nominations, Fayrouz Saad for Congress and Abdul El-Sayed for the Democratic nomination for governor. While only Tlaib won, both Saad and El-Sayed are in their 30s and are part of the next generation of American Muslims who respond to hate not by cowering in fear, but by becoming more visible in an effort to better define who Muslims are and what they can contribute to our nation.
We are in the midst of a battle for our nation’s soul. On one side, there’s Trump who wants to potentially restrict even legal immigration and who parrots white nationalist talking points when demonizing African-Americans. And on the other side are those who believe in an America that is welcoming and celebrates our diversity. Tlaib’s victory Tuesday is clearly a win for all those who believe in this second vision of America.

Mali’s Presidential Runoff Dogged By Fears Of Deadly Violence As Polls Open

Incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita failed to reach the 50 percent threshold in the first round vote in the West African state. Eighteen candidates have said they will not accept results marred by irregularities.

People wait outside Mali polling station (Reuters/L. Gnago)
Malian authorities hope their additional security measures will help to boost voter turnout
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bY CRIMSON TAZVINZWA ~~WEST AFRICA//MALI Authorities have beefed-up security across the country ahead of Mali’s presidential second-round vote after attacks during last month’s initial round kept many voters away. Despite the situation, incumbent Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is expected to win.

Voter casts her ballot (Reuters/L. Gnago)

Malians headed back to the polls amid tight security on Sunday, in a run-off election that pitted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita against the country’s main opposition leader, Soumaila Cisse.

Authorities deployed a 42,000-strong security force, made up of the police and military, to try and prevent a repeat of the chaotic violence by armed groups that marred last month’s first round vote.

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Photo: Donald Sparks/AFRICOM
IN MALI AND REST OF AFRICA, THE U.S. MILITARY FIGHTS A HIDDEN WAR

Election officials were concerned that fresh attacks would dampen turnout for the runoff, after several incidents forced about a fifth of polling stations to close during the July 29th preliminary poll — mostly in the lawless central region.

Just 40 percent of voters took part in the first round, which saw Keita win 41 percent support against nearly 18 percent for Cisse, a former finance minister.

“We traveled the whole country and we noticed everywhere a strong desire for change,” said Cisse. “Malians want change, they want another future and hope. This is why I am happy to be here. I am happy because I am confident in the vote, which takes place today.”

Read more: Malians want stability and security, former minister says

Keita wins new supporters

Despite Cisse vowing to win over voters in time for Sunday’s runoff, analysts said he has failed to unite the opposition behind him, after the most popular first-round challengers backed Keita.

The president is seeking a second term after beating Cisse in a 2013 election.

But the 73-year-old Keita faces severe criticism over his failure to dampen a wave of jihadist bloodshed and ethnic violence.

The main opposition has also accused his government of rampant corruption and voting fraud in July.

Militants regroup

Concerns are mounting that militants — including those linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State (IS) armed group — have regrouped since a French intervention in 2013, and are now expanding their influence across the desert north and into the fertile center.

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Mali Military Enters Town of Timbuktu//AP

More than 930 militant attacks were recorded in the first half of 2018 by the civil society website Malilink, almost double that for the previous year, and triple 2015’s figures.

Read more: Attack on Sahel counterterror force puts jihadists in focus

Myanmar Rohingya Muslim: ‘I saw them with our women, doing whatever they wanted’

Rohingya Muslims, who fled the massacre of Chut Pyin in Myanmar, tell Campbell MacDiarmid of their battle for dignity

A young Rohingya refugee in a camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, August 11 2018. Campbell MacDiarmid for The National
A young Rohingya refugee in a camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, August 11 2018. Campbell MacDiarmid for The National

bY CAMPBELL MAcDIARMID ~~It was once called the Village of Bitter Gourds for the vegetables that residents grow in Chut Pyin. As well as the gourds, the lush fields around their homes in northern Rakhine State produced a profusion of rice, pumpkins and okra.

But last year, the rice paddies of Chut Pyin became killing fields, as Myanmar soldiers and Buddhist extremists carried out a brutal massacre of the Rohingya villagers. On August 26, nearly 400 of them were killed and the village razed, while those who survived fled on foot across the border into neighbouring Bangladesh. The bitter gourds of Chut Pyin were supplanted by bitter memories for the more than 1,000 odd people to whom that bountiful home is just a memory.

 Mohammad Haror, six, left, embraces his brother Mohmmad Aktar, four
Mohammad Haror, six, left, embraces his brother Mohmmad Aktar, fourIMAGE: REX FEATURES

Instead, 12 months on, the villagers live in a tight cluster of tarpaulin and bamboo huts atop a small hillock in the Kutupalong-Balukhali Refugee Camp.

“You won’t find anyone around here who didn’t lose at least one family member,” says Mohammed Sadiq, a grey-haired farmer in a white skull cap, whose granddaughter and daughter-in-law were both killed.

Of the 1,400 Rohingya who lived in Chut Pyin, 358 were killed and another 94 were wounded, according to Ahammed Hossain, who was once the village foreman.

According to Mr Hossain, a boyish 25-year-old who wears a T shirt emblazoned with the white sign of the Hollywood hills, a further 59 men were detained by Myanmar soldiers and have not been released. At least 19 women were savagely raped. He recounted how he found his own sister dying in the bushes after being raped and shot.

“I couldn’t save her,” he says flatly. His father and brother were also killed, he added, the numbness of loss palpable in his voice.

The massacre at Chut Pyin – which has been documented and corroborated by various international rights groups – became the most notorious example of the Myanmar government’s campaign to expel the ethnic minority Rohingya from its lands, and precipitate a mass exodus of refugees into Bangladesh.

Today, as Bangladesh and Myanmar discuss the return of refugees, the villagers of Chut Pyin hold up their experience as evidence of why greater international involvement is needed to protect the rights of Rohingya Muslims.

Ex-KKK member denounces hate groups one year after rallying in Charlottesville

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©HuffPost A former grand dragon of the KKK said he went to Charlottesville last year to spark a race war. He has since had a change of heart. He has turned to Christ Jesus

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nearly one year ago, Ken Parker joined hundreds of other white nationalists at a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. That day, he wore a black shirt with two lightning bolts sewn onto the collar, the uniform of the National Socialist Movement, an American neo-Nazi group.

In the past 12 months, his beliefs and path have been radically changed by the people he has met since the violent clash of white nationalists and counterprotesters led to the death of Heather Heyer, 32.

Now he looks at the shirt he wore that day, laid out in his apartment in Jacksonville, and sees it as a relic from a white nationalist past he has since left behind.

“This is their new patch,” he said, pointing to a symbol sewn to the sleeve. “The old one, they had a swastika on there. They wanted to rebrand themselves to not look as racist, to be more appealing to the alt-right crowd.”

As he lays out more paraphernalia on his living room coffee table, Parker’s cramped apartment starts to look like a museum — not just of the modern hate movement, but of his life for the past six years.

He picks up a green robe from his time as a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, a title he earned by recruiting new members, first in Georgia where he lived after joining the Klan in 2012, and now in Florida.

“I think it cost $170, and I never got eyeholes on my hood,” Parker said as he held up the mask. He later explained why: “I didn’t hide behind anything. I stood behind what I believed.”

Parker said he felt the need to be in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, to “stand up for my white race.”

“It was thinly veiled [as an effort] to save our monuments, to save our heritage,” he said about the rally. “But we knew when we went in there that it was gonna turn into a racially heated situation, and it wasn’t going to work out good for either side.”

Ex-KKK member baptised

Denmark has ridiculed itself by banning burkas, activist tells Euronews

Denmark has ridiculed itself by banning burkas, activist tells Euronews
Denmark has ridiculed itself by banning burkas, activist tells Euronews

Algerian businessman and political activist Rachid Nekkaz says he intends to go to Copenhagen to pay the fines of women that have been caught wearing burkas, which are prohibited in Denmark.

In response, the populist Danish People’s Party has threatened to introduce prison sentence for offenders of the ban.

Nekkaz, speaking to Euronews, said: “I regret that [Denmark], which is an example of freedom, has fallen into this trap and ridiculed itself, like France and Belgium,” he said, referring to the European countries’ own burka bans.

When he was last in Denmark, in March, he said that if the country should go through with the ban, he will come every month to pay the fines.

Denmark approved the ban in May.

Nekkaz has announced he will return to Copenhagen in September to pay the fines. So far, he has received eight requests from women who have been fined. He expects that number to rise by the time he arrives.

Foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, Martin Henriksen, told Euronews he disapproved of the activist’s intention.

“Mr Nekkaz’ plans to pay the fines for the women, who break the law concerning full-face veils, is a blatant attempt to undermine Danish legislation,” he said. “As a legislator I am obviously very critical of Mr Nekkaz’ actions. I believe that we should consider taking steps towards new legislation, which addresses this problem.”

He added that a prison sentence of one-to-two weeks as punishment for breaking the ban “would be appropriate”.

Moreover, the money of the volunteer(s) who pay the fines of those caught will be considered taxable income, Henriksen said. That means that the price paid will ultimately be much costlier than just the fines.

But Nekkaz said he will pay the taxes too. And in the case of imprisonment, he will seek the aid of the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council.

Nekkaz has also reprimanded the Danish government on his Facebook page.

“The Danish government is losing its nerve and is threatening women wearing niqabs with 14 days in prison,” he wrote.

Since 2010, Nekkaz has been paying the fines of women that both refuse to remove their veil in European countries, and refuse to wear them in Muslim ones.

According to him, he visited Iran in March to free 29 imprisoned women who had refused to wear the veil, and paid a deposit of over €77,000 to release one of them.

“I defend the freedom to wear or not the veil in the street,” Nekkaz said. “The street must remain the universal heritage of freedom.”

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