Youths charged with murder after fatal fire at Malaysian school

This file photo shows Malaysian Muslims carrying the coffin of a victim of the Darul Qur’an Ittifaqiyah religious school fire for burial at Raudhatul Sakinah cemetery in Kuala Lumpur on September 16, 2017. (File photo by AFP)
Updated 28 September 2017
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Youths charged with murder after fatal fire at Malaysian school

KUALA LUMPUR: Two Malaysian teenagers were charged with murder on Thursday, for setting fire to an Islamic boarding school that killed 23 people, mostly boys.
The fire in Kuala Lumpur on September 14 was the deadliest of its kind in two decades, and the tragedy sparked public outrage, with calls for greater safety and tougher regulation at religious schools.
The blaze had broken out in a top-floor dormitory at the three-story boarding school where most of the students were sleeping in bunk beds, with many of the windows barred by metal grilles.
The two accused were part of a group of seven youths, all male and aged between 12 and 18, who police said had started the fire after feuding with students from the boarding school. They lived in the neighborhood and did not attend the school.
Prosecutors declined to provide the suspects’ names or ages, citing Malaysia’s child protection laws, but said both the accused boys were minors.
“They are being tried jointly and are facing 23 counts of murder, one for each victim of the fire,” prosecuting lawyer Othman Abdullah told reporters outside a juvenile court in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia carries a mandatory death penalty for murder, but authorities have said it will not apply to the youths as they were underage. They could instead face jail time, whipping, fines or detention at an approved school.
The two, along with four others, are also facing drug use charges. All but one were minors, while another youth was released due to insufficient evidence, Othman said.
Those charged had tested positive for drugs, including marijuana and methamphetamine, according to a charge sheet sighted by Reuters.
The court has set November 28 as the date for the next hearing, Othman said.


Five mosques vandalized in central England

Updated 21 March 2019
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Five mosques vandalized in central England

  • British Home Secretary Sajid Javid says that the Birmingham attacks are “deeply concerning”
  • The incidents in Birmingham come just days after an attacker killed 50 worshippers in two mosques in New Zealand

LONDON: Counter-terrorism officers in central England are investigating attacks on five mosques in which windows were apparently shattered by a sledgehammer.
The attacks in Birmingham are being treated as linked. No motive has been established.
The incidents in Birmingham come just days after an attacker killed 50 worshippers in two mosques in New Zealand. The attack last week prompted many leaders in the UK to reach out to Muslims and offer support and reassurance.
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid says that the Birmingham attacks are “deeply concerning.”
In a tweet, Javid stressed that “hateful behavior has absolutely no place in our society & will never be accepted.”


Birmingham City Council cabinet member Waseem Zaffar wrote on Twitter that the community “will fight back against any hate and division with love, peace and harmony.”