UK police: possible hate crime outside Muslim center; 3 hurt

Police said the injuries are not life threatening although two people needed hospital treatment. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 September 2018
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UK police: possible hate crime outside Muslim center; 3 hurt

  • Officials said some anti-Muslim comments were made and the car reportedly sustained minor damage from some of the people from the center
  • Police said the injuries are not life threatening although two people needed hospital treatment

LONDON: British police are investigating a possible hate crime after a car hit pedestrians near a Muslim community center, injuring three people.
Police were called early Wednesday morning after a confrontation developed between four people in a car and a large group of people visiting a Muslim community center and mosque in the Cricklewood area of northwest London.
Officials said some anti-Muslim comments were made and the car reportedly sustained minor damage from some of the people from the center. It then sped off, hitting three people without stopping.
Police said the injuries are not life threatening although two people needed hospital treatment. The case is not being treated as related to terrorism.
The Hussaini Association, which had organized a lecture at the mosque, called the collision “a suspected premeditated Islamophobic attack.”
In a statement, the group said the car “swerved into innocent bystanders” and the occupants were heard shouting anti-Islamic taunts just before the attack.
Police are searching for the car and its occupants, reported as three men and a woman.
“This incident is not being treated as terror-related but the hate crime aspect of the collision is being looked at by detectives as an aggravating factor,” police said in a statement.


No quick breakthrough in Taliban talks, warns Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 June 2019
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No quick breakthrough in Taliban talks, warns Ghani

  • The Taliban do not trust Ghani ... and there is no possibility of any compromise between Ghani and the Taliban
  • Afghan president says deal not possible without a ‘regional consensus’

KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani said late on Friday that a breakthrough in Afghanistan’s peace process will require more time.
“We consider the US commitment to a political solution to be credible and are coordinating to build the necessary international consensus on peace. But without a regional consensus on peace and addressing Taliban’s interdependencies with their supporters, breakthroughs will take time,” Ghani said.
Ghani made the comments on Friday at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. His remarks are his first in public since a series of talks between US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Taliban emissaries held in recent months in Qatar.
Afghan government delegates were excluded from the discussions because the Taliban consider Ghani’s administration a puppet of the West.
Khalilzad is in Afghanistan hoping to revive talks between the Taliban and other Afghans, including government delegates, after Ghani called off such a gathering in April in Qatar. Ghani summoned a grand traditional assembly, or Loya Jirga, afterwards in Kabul to set a mechanism for talks with the Taliban.
In Bishkek, Ghani said his government’s mandate for seeking peace with the Taliban comes from the 23-point resolution of the Jirga.
He said that “although the Afghan war is multi-dimensional, reaching a peace agreement with the Taliban is a key component for the reduction of violence.”
Ghani put forward four proposals for an Afghan peace deal. It includes the formation of a regional and international coalition for peace and the creation of a regional task force to develop bankable programs and projects for regional connectivity and poverty reduction.
He said dealing with drugs as a driver of conflict and criminality should be comprehensively addressed within the peace-making and peace-building framework. Agreeing to a regional framework for fighting terrorism was also essential.
Ghani said his government will hold the presidential elections on Sept. 28, which have been delayed twice so far. Some of Ghani’s rivals accuse him of using government resources in his favor for the poll, while other politicians, including Khalilzad, favor postponing the poll until the talks with Taliban have finished so that the latter can also take part in the elections.
Jamaludin Badar, a former governor who is a member of the government-appointed High Peace Council, said that, given the regional and international involvement in Afghanistan’s long war and the complication of the conflict, headway cannot been expected soon in the talks.
“There are countries in the region and beyond who want their interest to be protected in Afghanistan post the peace deal,” he told Arab News. “So it is natural for the peace process to drag on and on. These countries have a consensus on ending the war, but not on their interests and future involvement here.”
Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen, an analyst, said: “Ghani wants to remain in power for another five years and makes different comments at different juncture of time. The Taliban do not trust Ghani ... and there is no possibility of any compromise between Ghani and the Taliban.”