A boy suspected of a mass shooting in North Carolina on Thursday began the rampage by fatally shooting a relative at home, police have said.

Five people including an off-duty police officer were killed and two injured in the attack in Raleigh.

The 15-year-old suspect is in a critical condition in hospital, but it is not clear how he was injured.

The Gun Violence Archive says there have been 533 mass shootings (four or more shot) in the US this year.

Thursday's attack unfolded in a residential neighbourhood near the Neuse River Greenway, a popular trail on the outskirts of the state capital.

The unnamed suspect's motive is yet to be established, said police. He is white, and the victims were all of different races.

After shooting a relative at home, the boy went out into the street and shot two women in the neighbourhood, Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said on Friday morning.

The suspect then allegedly ran towards the local river trail, fatally shooting 29-year-old police officer Gabriel Torres, who was on his way to work. 

Once on the trail the attacker killed two more people and wounded two others, said the police chief.

A nearby primary school was locked down and two community centres were pre-emptively evacuated.

"My heart is heavy, because we don't have answers as to why this tragedy occurred," Chief Patterson said.

The shooting - which spanned over two miles - began just after 17:00 EDT (21:00 GMT) on Thursday.

A police dog tracked the suspect to a shed, where he was taken into custody about four-and-a-half hours later.

The two wounded victims included another police officer, Casey Clark, 33, who has since been released from hospital, and a 59-year-old woman, who was in a critical condition.

Along with Officer Torres, the deceased victims were identified by officials as Nicole Connors, 53, Susan Karnatz, 49, Mary Marshall, 34, and James Thompson,16.

Ms Connors' husband told the Associated Press news agency she had been chatting to a neighbour on the porch when she was shot. Ms Marshall was walking her dog, Scruff, her sister told NBC.

Ms Karnatz's husband, Tom, posted a tribute to the mother-of-three on Facebook, writing: "We had plans together for growing old. Always together."

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said on Friday the teen suspect would be charged as an adult.

More than 34,000 people have died in shootings in the US in 2022, more than half of which were from suicide, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

"We must stop this mindless violence in America," said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, after the shooting. "We must address gun violence. We have much to do, and tonight we have much to mourn."/BBC

Non-locals given voting rights to make Muslims a minority in Kashmir region

In an attempt to change the demography of the only Muslim-majority region in the country, the Modi government has introduced electoral rights for non-locals, who are mostly non-Muslims, in Jammu and Kashmir.

The move is expected to add about 2.5 million more voters on top of the 7.6 million existing voters – a whopping 30 percent increase.

Amid the furore over the inclusion of non-locals in electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir, which was downgraded from being a state to federally-administered territories in 2019, the local administration has now said that people residing in Jammu for a year or more can register as voters. Eligible residents have been asked to produce government documents as proof. Those with no proof of residence will be verified at their homes.

Kashmiris say the scrapping of the region’s semi-autonomous status and subsequent legal moves are aimed at changing the region’s demography. In recent years, the government has introduced a controversial domicile law that grants citizenship rights to every Indian living in the region for more than 15 years. New laws making every Indian citizen eligible to buy land in the region were also passed.

Experts say the move was skewed in favour of the Hindu-majority Jammu and accuse the government of violating the universal criteria of considering the population of the area in drawing electoral seats.

Uttar Pradesh policeman publicly threatens to kill Muslims, caught on video

In a viral video, a policeman in the Uttar Pradesh state was caught swearing to a group of Hindu men that he will send people to graves and bulldoze their houses if he finds them disrupting Hindu religious processions.

Uttar Pradesh is ruled by Modi’s Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has been persecuting Muslims for over five years.

The policeman’s comments followed a sectarian clash in which six people, including a policeman, were injured in the state’s Sultanpur district.

The clashes broke out when Muslims asked the Hindu rally to lower the procession music during Azan — a call for prayer — from the mosque. A video of the procession shows hundreds of men brandishing swords, wearing saffron caps and dancing to DJ music.

Recently, a video of the police publicly flogging Muslim men in Gujarat, also ruled by the BJP, drew widespread criticism. Police across India have been accused of siding with Hindu groups and unleashing a brutal crackdown on Muslims.

Pregnant woman loses baby after Dalits kept locked up by BJP supporter

A pregnant Dalit woman miscarried after 16 Dalits were assaulted and kept locked up for days by a man who is said to be a BJP supporter.

A case has been registered against the accused Jagadeesha Gowda and his son Tilak under a law that seeks to protect the rights of the scheduled castes, a historically marginalized group.

Both Gowda and Tilak are on the run.

One of the labourers, Arpitha, 20, lost her baby after Gowda assaulted her. “I was kept under house arrest for one day. I was beaten up and verbally abused. He had confiscated my phone,” she said.

Her husband, Vijay, and two other workers also claimed they were assaulted.

A police officer confirmed that he saw at least eight to 10 people locked up in a room when he visited the place after a complaint from some people alleging their relatives were being tortured.

“There are four families – which includes 16 members – and all are from Scheduled Castes. According to the complainant, all 16 were kept under house arrest for 15 days,” the officer said.

BJP legislator is bailed right after conviction for a role in anti-Muslim violence 

BJP legislator in Uttar Pradesh, Vikram Saini, was granted bail immediately after being convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment in a 2013 anti-Muslim violence case. 11 others were sentenced with him.

They were convicted of rioting and arson, among other offences.  Fifteen other accused were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district in 2013 claimed 60 lives and displaced over 40,000 people. In the last nine years, 1,117 people accused in 97 cases related to murder, rape, robbery, and arson have been acquitted.

After the Hindu-supremacist BJP formed the government in UP with the Hindu militant monk Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister in 2017, a delegation of BJP legislators urged him to withdraw cases against the Hindus accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots.

Of the total 175 cases, the court has so far acquitted the accused in 36 cases and around 77 cases were withdrawn by the UP government.

BJP legislator demands cancellation of reservation for Muslims and Christians

In an attempt to further marginalize minority religious communities in the Karnataka state, a BJP legislator, Arvind Bellad, on Tuesday demanded the cancellation of reservations given to Muslims and Christians.

Reservation is a system that provides historically disadvantaged groups representation in education, employment, government schemes, health, banking, higher education, scholarships, and politics.

He demanded that these reservations be given to the Hindu communities instead.

He slammed the previous government for bringing religion-based reservations. The Karnataka government has been providing reservations for Muslims in government jobs.

Representation of Muslims in government and other jobs has been disproportionately low.

Leicestershire Police have launched an investigation after their hate crime officer suffered a torrent of online abuse.

Sumaya Bihi introduced herself in a post about her role on Twitter but then faced a barrage of abuse from trolls.

Responses to the tweet included racist, Islamophobic and misogynistic language plus comments about her appearance.

However they also included posts supporting her and her role, and condemning the abuse she suffered.

The force said it had reported abusive comments to Twitter and begun its own inquiries.

A police spokesperson said: "We are supporting our hate crime officer in a number of ways.

"Unacceptable messages have been reported to Twitter and we have opened our own inquiries into the abuse."

'She is brilliant'

Labour MP for Leicester South Jon Ashworth tweeted: "This abuse is utterly unacceptable. I know Sumaya, she is brilliant.

"Police must investigate thoroughly trolls including those who hide behind anonymous accounts.

"Leicester is united in saying we won't let hate divide us."

Some of the replies to the tweet, which posted on the Leicestershire Police Stay Safe account on Monday 3 October, also mentioned recent disorder in Leicester amid tensions involving mainly young men from sections of the Muslim and Hindu communities./BBC

Senior officials from the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agreed to take concrete action to fight anti-Muslim racism in Europe.

Daniel Holtgen, CoE's special representative on anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and other forms of religious intolerance and hate crimes, held an online meeting with Ismail Hakkı Musa, the new personal representative of the OSCE chairpersonship-in-office on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims.

In a tweet he posted following the meeting, Holtgen said they have observed a worrying increase in racism against Muslims in Europe, similar to the rise in anti-Semitism.

"The Council of Europe and the OSCE are committed to stop the trend," he wrote.

In a separate statement, Holtgen said he congratulated Musa on his appointment, adding that they agreed to continue and build on the excellent relations established with his predecessor, and exchanged views on freedom of religion and belief, in particular anti-Muslim racism.

"We both stressed the importance of civil society and engaging young people in combating all forms of intolerance," the statement said, adding that they looked into "possible avenues of cooperation," such as establishing best practices in "combatting anti-Muslim racism."

On July 27, Turkish Ambassador Musa was appointed by Poland, OSCE's 2022 chair, as the personal representative of the OSCE chairpersonship-in-office on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims.

Incidents of Islamophobia are commonplace in the London region, leading to lasting negative impacts on the mental health of the community, including its youth, a King’s University College researcher says.

“In Ontario there has been an increase in Islamophobia (incidents) of 250 per cent from 2012 to 2016,” said Siham Elkassem, a Muslim professor, social worker and researcher. ”The last stat we have in London is a 46 per cent rise in hate-motivated crimes.”

Elkassem will speak Thursday at the relaunch of King’s Centre for Interreligious Learning and Dialogue, formerly the Centre for Jewish-Catholic-Muslim Learning, about what Islamophobia looks like in the Forest City and its lasting effects.

She studies the mental health implications of Islamophobia and general discrimination on racialized communities in London, an area she said is under-researched.

In her most recent project, Elkassem interviewed 25 London Muslim youth four months after an alleged hate-motivated attack killed four members of London’s Afzaal family while they were out for a walk on June 6, 2021. Police allege the family was targeted because of their Islamic faith.

The youth expressed “a heightened sense of hypervigilance,” Elkassem said. “Females talked about being afraid to go out, being afraid to go walk, or out by themselves.”

“It affects their sense of self, their identity and has serious implications on their mental health. It can cause anxiety and depression.”

Elkassem said she accumulated 150 pages of findings that included acts of violence, as well as explicit and subtle forms of racism at work, in school and in the community.

“(Those acts) gives the message they don’t belong here,” she said.  “It’s going to impact (the youth’s) sense of self, their identify and ultimately their mental wellness.”

“It can impede on their learning and ability to flourish.”

The talk will also feature an overview of the centre’s vision and activities by director Julius-Kei Kato.

The event takes place Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Labatt Hall lobby of King’s.

The cover of the Swedish magazine Skogseko for its new issue, sparked widespread criticism on social networking sites within the country.

The magazine used the image of the researcher, "Mostarin Ara", a veiled Muslim woman from Bangladesh, who was interviewed by the magazine about the findings of her research on the best ways to preserve forests.

One Twitter user commented on the photo, "Now oppressed Muslim women will tell me how to manage my forest? A disgusting picture," according to The Combs.

The magazine replied in a tweet, “We have seen the awful comments and want you to know that we support you – don’t let this bring you down! We strongly reject racism. Being a Muslim, wearing headscarf is not relevant for the article. The news value decides what we chose to publish. Maria Larsson, Editor Skogseko

The researcher responded to the attack on her own Twitter account, writing: "Today I saw all the racist comments on the cover photo because of my hijab and the color of my skin... It seems that they don't want to manage their forests by listening to professional research and ideas that come from dark-skinned people and Muslim women." .

She added, "I got to where I am now with my hard work and efforts, and I won't let them disappoint me. I will continue my work despite all challenges, with my hijab and my beliefs, hoping that one day they will appreciate the work regardless of one's appearance."

Ara's response was met with positive reaction from Twitter users, with many tweeting in support of her and her career.

German police have been accused of causing the death of a 64-year-old Black man while attempting to move him from a mental health facility to a hospital.

Kupa llunga Medard Mutombo died at a hospital on Thursday, three weeks after being "brutally" subdued by Berlin police officers, according to his family and the rights group Reach Out.

Human rights expert Diplab Basu told Anadolu Agency that Berlin police and their "racist" behavior were responsible for Mutombo's death.

"So, what happened was they came, approached him, and he opened the door. But as soon as he saw the police officers, he went into a panic and he wanted to close the door. But, they first opened the door, then forced him on the ground, and one police officer was even sitting on his neck," he said.

"Then, they took him downstairs to the ground floor, and then 13 more police officers joined and they all forced him on the ground. By that time, he had almost collapsed. So, I think his death was caused by this extremely brutal police violence and police action," he added.

According to witnesses and Mutombo's brother, the incident was similar to the killing of George Floyd in the US.

'This happens very often'

Basu, an expert on racism, police violence, and racial profiling, said Mutombo's death was not an isolated case, and that they were receiving more and more complaints about police brutality against Black people and migrants in Germany.

"This happens very often. And in fact, you'll see that in the last, say, three, four weeks, we've had various complaints from all over Germany, and especially complaints regarding police action against people of color, as well as people who are psychologically disbalanced.

"At my own counselling center, I would say we have something around two cases every day," he said.

According to Basu, who has been working for Reach Out for more than 20 years, many cases of police brutality go unreported and are not properly investigated by the authorities or punished.

"The trouble is that it's not only the police. What we do not see, or very often ignore, is that the whole justice system is so racist that they do not offer any justice to people of color who are being badly treated by the police, who are beaten by the police, even murdered by the police," he said.

Basu expressed regret that, due to this trend of racial bias, people of color and many migrants have lost all faith in the justice system and no longer believe their complaints will be taken seriously and followed up by an investigation.

Independent studies have shown that police violence and racism are often misclassified or go unreported in Germany's official statistics. According to a study by Basu and his colleagues, who have been monitoring such incidents and collecting information, more than 160 suspected deaths over the past two decades are attributable to police violence.

"We have realized that it is something like 169 deaths over a period of 20 years or so," he said, adding that none of the police officers involved in these deaths have been charged with either murder or manslaughter.

"They are hardly charged," he said./AA

A video that shows Muslim men tied to a pole and being beaten by police last week in the western Indian state of Gujarat for allegedly throwing stones at a religious event triggered outrage on social media.

India's Muslims are subjected to systematic police violence, lynching by radical groups, and political discrimination, according to human rights groups and local Muslim leaders. They have criticized the way perpetrators of attacks on Muslims are not punished, politicians who spread anti-Muslim propaganda are promoted, and violent police are not disciplined.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Zafarul Islam Khan, editor-in-chief of the English-language Milli Gazette newspaper, responded to the video.

"These people who are doing the beating are plainclothes police, not ordinary people. These youth, they were accused of throwing stones on some Hindu procession. It wasn't proven, just claimed," he said.

Khan said that since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, there have been over 700 lynching incidents, but police failed to take any action.

"Ordinary people are beating Muslims. Police are beating Muslims outside, in police stations, even in jails. So it's happening almost every single day," he said.

"Muslim houses are being demolished over the smallest thing. If you quarrel with a Hindu, he will go and bring some officer with a bulldozer and demolish your home."


Underlining that the perpetrators of attacks on Muslims almost never get punished, Khan said the participation in lynching groups has increased and that both police violence and lynching of radical Hindu groups are rising every day.

He said that in February 2020, during election campaigning, then-Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur called for the killing of Muslims, adding that "nothing happened to him."

"He even got a promotion. He was minister of state, but now he's a minister (for information and broadcasting). This is government policy. They don't say it openly, but this is their policy."

Khan added: "Hindus must have the upper hand, and Muslims are second-class citizens. Muslims must keep quiet. They must take it in their chains. They should not protest, they should not come out, they should not demonstrate. This is the situation here in India under Mr. Modi."

On Oct. 4, several Muslim men were tied to a pole and beaten with a stick by plainclothes police officers as a crowd watched in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

On Twitter, Amnesty International criticized the incident: "The Gujarat police's use of striking devices such as lathis [sticks] to beat Muslim men who were tied to a pole by the police themselves is a serious human rights violation and shows their utter disrespect towards rule of law.

"We remind the Gujarat Police that punishment is never a legitimate objective for a law enforcement action, even if using less lethal weapons. In this case, it blatantly ignored the guiding principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, and accountability."

Indian Muslim leader and parliamentarian Asaduddin Owaisi also criticized the police violence on Twitter:

"Every day, there is more evidence of mass radicalization. Floggings and mob violence by cops have become common. Targeted violence against Muslims is treated as 'justice'," Owaisi said.

 Two US-based influencers with a combined following of more than 10 million followers have apologised after they were accused of Islamophobia.

Content creators Savannah Demers, 22, and Michelle Kennelly, 19, have been accused of mocking a Muslim woman wearing a hijab at an Amazon Prime event to celebrate the premiere of Lena Dunham’s Catherine Called Birdy.

In a video shared to her Instagram story, Demers filmed herself and Kennelly with blankets over their heads.

Above the blankets and in the background, a Muslim woman wearing the hijab could be seen sitting behind them using her phone.

The now-deleted Instagram story quickly began circulating online, with social media users criticisng the pair for allegedly mocking the Muslim woman.

Another TikTok creator named Maya Abdallah, who can also be seen in the background of the video, weighed in on the controversy and accused Demers and Kennelly of being “extremely Islamophobic”.

“They went out of their way to put those blankets over their head to film a hijabi woman without consent to make fun of her on their platforms with millions and millions of followers,” Abdallah alleged.

“The woman I’m sitting next to [the woman wearing the hijab] is not an influencer. She did not come to this event to be mocked or to be laughed at. She came to this event to enjoy the event that she was invited to.”

The backlash comes amid new data from the UK Home Office, which reveals that Muslims faced 42 per cent of all religiously aggravated hate crime in the year ending March 2022.

Additionally, a survey of more than 1,000 US adults by the Othering & Belonging Institute at University of California, Berkeley found that 76.7 per cent of Muslim women had experienced a personal encounter with Islamophobia.

The Independent has contacted Amazon, Demers and Kennelly for comment.

Both Demers and Kennelly have responded to the backlash separately.

In a video shared with her TikTok followers on Sunday (9 October), Kennelly denied making fun of the woman.

“It was just us being cozy in our warm pink blankets and I realised that there was a girl wearing a hijab behind us when we showed the location around and what the event looked like.

“We did not see her, we never spoke about her, we did not make fun of her, and absolutely had no intention of hurting anybody’s feelings.

“I removed the story because the last thing I want right now is to hurt somebody, especially with the situation going on in the world.”

Kennelly continued: “My dad is Muslim, I come from a Muslim background. My manager is Iranian, and I respect and love all cultures.

“I never made fun of anyone, I never bullied anyone, and I just wanted to sincerely apologise if I did hurt anybody.”

In a separate video, Demers said she hadn’t noticed the woman in the background until she received a message from a friend alerting her that the video may be deemed “disrespectful”.

“I genuinely posted this and had no idea until this morning what was going on in the background of this video.

“I see the video and I see how bad it looks. I hate that I posted that and not even realising what I did. It just goes to show how careful you have to be.”

Demers added: “We had no idea who was sitting behind us, that video, the intention of it was us being coy in our blankets just trying to show where we were at and what we were doing. I understand how bad it looks.

“I would never ever do that, especially with what’s going on in the world right now. I am so sorry, and I will be so much more careful with my actions.

“Genuinely from the bottom of my heart I apologise to anyone who was offended by that, who are affected by that, and to the girl in that video: I am so sorry.”/Independent

Fifteen students of the Nuurul Huda Islamic Centre, Kuduru, in the FCT, on Saturday, completed a session of their Islamic education and were presented certificates.
Speaking at the ceremony, the proprietor of the school, Mallam Suleiman Usman, pleaded with parents and guardians to let their children acquire knowledge about God, saying with sound knowledge of the creator, most of the current societal ills would be a thing of the past.
He said, “Let your children acquire Islamic education; teach them about the Holy Quran, and the Hadith, and you are sure they will take the right path.’’ He also advised Islamic clerics to ensure that their teachings were based on the holy books in order to disabuse the minds of people associating Islam with violence.
He explained that “Islam is a religion of peace that preaches peace, harmonious relations even with those that are not Muslims. So the clerics should pass such teachings exactly as they are to their students.’’
He congratulated the graduating students, saying most of them had completed the memorisation of many parts of the Quran.
One of the graduating students, Raqeebah Salihu, commended the school for providing not only Quranic recitation lessons, but complete Islamic education, and so urged children, especially girls, to acquire Islamic knowledge.

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