Trump backs Saudi-led efforts to isolate Qatar

US President Donald Trump (center L) walks with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (center R) to deliver remarks to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS)
Updated 06 June 2017

Trump backs Saudi-led efforts to isolate Qatar

RIYADH: US President Donald Trump threw his weight behind efforts to isolate Qatar on Tuesday, backing Saudi Arabia and its allies after they cut ties with Doha over claims it supports extremism.
In a surprise move against a key US ally, Trump suggested Qatar — home to the largest American airbase in the Middle East — was funding extremism as he tacitly backed the diplomatic blockade of the emirate.
“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off,” Trump said in a morning tweet, in reference to his trip to Riyadh last month.

“They said they would take a hard line on funding... extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!“
Trump’s broadside came as Kuwait’s ruler headed to Saudi Arabia in a bid to resolve the feud, the worst diplomatic crisis to hit the Arab world in years.
Saudi Arabia and allies including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced Monday they were severing diplomatic relations and closing air, sea and land links with Qatar.
They accused the tiny Gulf state of harboring extremist groups and suggested Qatari support for the agenda of Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-rival Iran.


Hong Kong leader visits mosque struck by blue water-cannon dye

Updated 59 sec ago

Hong Kong leader visits mosque struck by blue water-cannon dye

  • The entrance to the Kowloon Mosque was sprayed by a water cannon truck on Sunday, causing anger among both local Muslims and protester
  • The mosque is a center of Hong Kong’s 300,000-strong Muslim community

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader and the city’s police chief visited a mosque on Monday that was struck with blue dye from a water cannon during the latest bout of violent protests.
The entrance to the Kowloon Mosque, the international hub’s largest, was sprayed by a water cannon truck on Sunday, causing anger among both local Muslims and protesters.
Police use the dye — often mixed with an irritant — as a way to identify protesters but it has frequently left streets and buildings daubed in a garish blue.
Video footage shot Sunday showed the truck pulling up outside the building during confrontations with protesters, pausing and then spraying around half a dozen journalists and bystanders who were gathered on the street outside.
The group, who did not appear to be protesters, was struck twice, with much of the bright blue jet painting the mosque’s entrance and steps.
Police released a statement on Sunday saying the mosque was hit by mistake but did not apologize.
On Monday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and police chief Stephen Lo paid a brief visit to the mosque, surrounded by a phalanx of security guards.
They emerged some 20 minutes later without speaking to the media.
Mosque representatives told reporters that the two had apologized for the water cannon incident and that the apology had been accepted.
The representatives also thanked worshippers and Hong Kongers who flocked to clean the mosque soon after the incident.
The original Kowloon Mosque was built in the late nineteenth century to cater for Muslim soldiers from British-ruled India.
It was rebuilt in the early 1980s and remains a center of Hong Kong’s 300,000-strong Muslim community.
Lam’s office and the police did not respond to requests for comment on the visit.
A police source told AFP the commissioner did apologize and further details would be released later in the day.
Hong Kong was convulsed by another day of violence on Sunday as the city nears five months of seething pro-democracy protests.
Tens of thousands joined an unauthorized but peaceful afternoon rally which quickly descended into chaos as small groups of hardcore protesters threw petrol bombs and rocks at a police station, mainland China businesses and multiple subway station entrances.
Police responded with water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets in clashes that lasted well into the night.