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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

PEACE VIGIL: Londoners hold vigil for Muslim terror attack victims

"Londoners bearing flowers and messages of solidarity gathered Monday at the spot where a man ploughed a van into Muslims leaving prayers at a mosque, the fourth terror strike in Britain in four months.

Eleven people were injured in the attack, which took place early Monday near Finsbury Park mosque, north London, raising fears of retaliation against Muslims after recent assaults by Islamic extremists.

One elderly man, who had collapsed just before the incident, was pronounced dead at the scene, but it is not yet known whether his death was directly linked to the van assault.

Among the roughly 100 people at the vigil, some carried signs reading "United Against All Terror".

"One of the things that all these terrorists share is a perverse ideology that wants to fuel division and divide our communities. We're not going to let them," said Mayor Sadiq Khan, speaking after prayers at the Muslim Welfare House on Monday evening.

Flowers were left at the scene where hours earlier the 47-year-old van driver was pinned down by locals and shielded from violence by an imam, before being detained by police.

The driver was later arrested on suspicion of "the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder", the police said.

The suspect was identified by British media as Darren Osborne, a father of four who lived in the Welsh capital Cardiff.

As police searched a property, five residents speaking to journalists from the Press Association news agency identified images of the arrested man as their neighbour, Osborne.

Security Minister Ben Wallace told BBC radio that the suspect was "not known to us".

- Stepped-up police presence -

London police chief Cressida Dick said the incident was "quite clearly an attack on Muslims" and promised a stepped-up police presence near mosques as the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close.

Witness Abdiqadir Warra told AFP the van "drove at people" and that some of the victims were carried for several metres along the road.

"He was shouting: 'I want to kill all Muslims'," another witness, Khalid Amin, told BBC television.

The Finsbury Park Mosque said the van "deliberately mowed down Muslim men and women leaving late evening prayers" at the mosque and the nearby Muslim Welfare House shortly after midnight.

Eleven people were hurt, all Muslims, with nine requiring hospital treatment. Two were in a very serious condition, police said.

One Algerian man was among those injured, the north African country said.

Locals pinned down the driver and the imam of the Muslim Welfare House stepped in to stop him receiving a mob beating.

France and Germany quickly condemned the attack and Egypt's Al-Azhar institution, the leading authority in Sunni Islam, condemned it as "sinful".

"Al-Azhar affirms its total rejection of this terrorist, racist, sinful act, calling on Western countries to take all precautionary measures to limit the phenomenon of Islamophobia," it said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka expressed solidarity with the worshippers in a tweet but her father has so far not commented.

- Community in shock -

Prime Minister Theresa May, who was heavily criticised for failing to meet survivors of a devastating fire in a London tower block last week, visited Finsbury Park Mosque where she met local faith leaders.

May condemned the assault as "sickening", saying Britain's determination to fight "terrorism, extremism and hatred... must be the same, whoever is responsible".

The use of a vehicle to mow down pedestrians drew horrifying parallels with this month's London Bridge attack.

In that incident, three men slammed a van into pedestrians before embarking on a stabbing spree -- an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

In March London was hit with another car and knife rampage, that one near parliament. It was also claimed by IS.

This time the attacker deliberately targeted Muslims, according to the police.

"Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia and this is the most violent manifestation to date," said Harun Khan, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella body.

After the London Bridge attack, the mayor's office reported a 40-percent increase in racist incidents in the capital and a five-fold increase in anti-Muslim incidents.

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, described the attack as "cowardly".

"Our community is in shock," he said, urging people attending prayers to remain vigilant.

- 'Extraordinary city' -

It was the third major incident in the capital this month, after the London Bridge attack and last week's devastating fire in the Grenfell Tower block, in which 79 people are thought to have died.

"This is an extraordinary city of extraordinary people," May said outside Downing Street after chairing an emergency government meeting.

"Diverse, welcoming, vibrant, compassionate, confident and determined never to give in to hate."

Last month, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a pop concert in Britain's third city of Manchester, killing 22 people, many of them children.

The Finsbury Park Mosque was once a notorious hub for radical Islamists but has changed markedly in recent years under new management.

Its former imam, Abu Hamza, was jailed for life in New York on terrorism charges in 2015.

Despite the change in leadership and the focus on bolstering inter-faith relations, the mosque reported it had received a string of threatening emails and letters in the wake of the Paris attacks."



Source: AFP News. Read article by clicking this link: Londoners hold vigil for Muslim terror attack victims:



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Friday, June 2, 2017

UN: PEACE VIGIL: UN Secretary-General Guterres urges investment in ...

UN: PEACE VIGIL: UN Secretary-General Guterres urges investment in ...: "At the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called world leaders to invest in young...

UNICEF urges G7 leaders to adopt six-point action plan to keep refugee children safe

"United Nations children’s agency has urged the leaders of G7 industrialized countries to adopt its six-point action plan for the protection of refugee and migrant children.

At least 36,000 of the refugees and migrants rescued since January have been taken to Sicily, the site of this year’s summit, and the Italian G7 presidency has made migration a priority for this year’s talks.

“Sicily stands as a symbol of hope for uprooted children seeking a better life, but it is also the endpoint of an extremely dangerous journey that has claimed the lives of many children along the way,” said Justin Forsyth, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

UNICEF’s call comes at a time when the dangerous Central Mediterranean migration journey from North Africa to Italy draws renewed attention.

At least 200 children have died while crossing the Central Mediterranean from North Africa to Italy so far this year, a rate of more than one child per day, according to the latest estimates from UNICEF.

Between 1 January and 23 May, more than 45,000 refugees and migrants arrived to Italy by sea, up 44 per cent over the same period last year. This includes some 5,500 unaccompanied and separated children, an increase of 22 per cent from 2016, who account for approximately 92 per cent of all children arriving to Italy via the Central Mediterranean route.


Italian Coastguard, children, volunteers and officials take part in a symbolic rescue of paper boats to send a message to the G7 leaders to take action to safeguard children on the move off a beach in Palermo, Italy, on Thursday, 25 May 2017. Photo: UNICEF/Salvatore Cavalli
A record high 26,000 unaccompanied and separated children arrived to Italy last year, but if current trends hold, that record will be smashed in 2017.

“That is not a record to be proud of, but a reminder of our collective failure to ensure the safety and wellbeing of refugee and migrant children,” Mr. Forsyth said.

Earlier today, on the eve of the G7 summit, children, volunteers, the Italian coastguard, Italian and UNICEF officials took part in a symbolic rescue of paper boats to commemorate the thousands of children who have risked their lives crossing the Central Mediterranean and send a message to the G7 to take action to safeguard children on the move.

The action plan’s six points are:

Protect child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence;
End the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating, by introducing a range of practical alternatives;
Keep families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status;
Keep all refugee and migrant children learning and give them access to health and other quality services;
Press for action on the underlying causes of large scale movements of refugees and migrants;
Promote measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization in countries of transit and destination.
In addition, UNICEF has also launched the “#AChildIsAChild” campaign, which has so far been supported on social media by more than 2 million people."



Source: United Nations News Centre - UNICEF urges G7 leaders to adopt six-point action plan to keep refugee children safe:

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Peace Innovation: fCAT : #Culture: World needs 'soft power' of education, c...

Peace Innovation: fCAT : #Culture: World needs 'soft power' of education, c...: 'Hard power' can no longer stop conflicts nor the rise of violent extremism and “ancient hatreds” such as antisemitism and racial di...

More than one million children have fled escalating violence in South Sudan – UN

“The horrifying fact that nearly one in five children in South Sudan has been forced to flee their home illustrates how devastating this conflict has been for the country’s most vulnerable,” said Leila Pakkala, the Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in a press release issued jointly with the UN refugee agency.

“Add this to the more than one million children who are also displaced within South Sudan, and the future of a generation is truly on the brink,” she warned.

Children make 62 per cent of more than 1.8 million refugees from South Sudan, according to the latest UN figures. More than 75,000 refugee children in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have crossed South Sudan’s borders either unaccompanied or separated from their families.

“No refugee crisis today worries me more than South Sudan,” said Valentin Tapsoba, the Africa Bureau Director of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“That refugee children are becoming the defining face of this emergency is incredibly troubling,” he added."





Source : United Nations News Centre - More than one million children have fled escalating violence in South Sudan – UN: "

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UN: PEACE VIGIL: HEADLINES: April 6 to May 12, 2017 - United Nation...

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Come & Join Inter-Faith Prayers & Inter-Cultural Dialogue for Peace

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Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador
I choose to be a Missionary of the Interfaith, Interracial, Intercultural Sailing for Peace Program inspired and guided by the discipline and life of the Virgin Mary of the Catholic Church. I am a Catholic, a Lady Datin of the Muslims, a Buddhist in my Healthy Lifestyle and a Hindu in Purifying my Soul. With Free Thinking and Scientific Approach to my Peace Work, my life on the over-all is a whirlwind of Faith and Fate. I refuse donations to my peace work to prevent corruption but rather I decided to live a very simple so that I can fund it personally through my own personal income as Professional Resource Speaker, Author, Visual Artist, Playwright and Director

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