Hundreds pray in Malaysia for missing Franco-Irish teen

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Members of Malaysian rescue team prepare for a search and rescue operation for the missing the 15-year-old Franco-Irish girl Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 8, 2019. (AFP)
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People attend the Friday prayer dedicated for the safety and recovery of the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish girl Nora Quoirin at a mosque near the search and rescue area in Seremban on August 9, 2019. (AFP)
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Royal Malaysian Police participate in a search and rescue operation for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish, Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 8, 2019. (AFP)
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People attend the Friday prayer dedicated for the safety and recovery of the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish girl Nora Quoirin at a mosque near the search and rescue area in Seremban on August 9, 2019. (AFP)
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A Royal Malaysian Police officer hands a poster to a motorist bearing a portrait of the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish girl Nora Quoirin during a search and rescue operation in Seremban on August 9, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 10 August 2019
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Hundreds pray in Malaysia for missing Franco-Irish teen

  • They have questioned around 20 people and are examining fingerprints found on a window pane

SEREMBAN, Malaysia: Hundreds of Muslims held a special prayer session Friday for a Franco-Irish teen who went missing from a Malaysian resort, as a massive search team scoured the jungle for a sixth day.
Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared Sunday a day after checking into the resort with her London-based family.
They believe she was abducted, but police have classified it as a missing person case.
A search team of more than 260 people backed by helicopters, drones and sniffer dogs is poking through dense jungle next to the resort in southwestern Malaysia but have not found any trace of the teenager.
Some 300 people, many wearing Muslim prayer caps, knelt in prayer during a session dedicated to the teen at a mosque in a nearby town.
“What we’re doing today is to help our friends in the search effort,” said Mohamad Taufek Awaludin, who led the session.
“We hope that the family... will be patient. This is a test from Allah.”
Several police officers and firefighters were among the group. Roughly two-thirds of Malaysia’s 32 million inhabitants are Muslim.
Officials have played a recording of the girl’s mother, Meabh Quoirin, calling out “Nora, Nora darling, mummy’s here” through loudspeakers in the hope of drawing her out of the jungle, if she is still there.
Members of a special police commando unit arrived Friday to help in the search.
Senior police official Che Zakaria Othman conceded the search team had not uncovered any “concrete” clues about the girl’s disappearance.
But he added: “The security forces have not, to this day, given up.”
The daughter of a Franco-Irish couple, Nora went missing from the 12-acre (five-hectare) Dusun Resort, which lies near a forest reserve not far from Kuala Lumpur, in the foothills of a mountain range.
Her family says it would be extremely unusual for the reserved youngster to have wandered off on her own. While officially treating it as a missing person case, police say they have not ruled out other possibilities.
They have questioned around 20 people and are examining fingerprints found on a window pane.


In Texas, Trump and Modi vow relentless fight on extremists

Updated 23 September 2019

In Texas, Trump and Modi vow relentless fight on extremists

  • Taking the flavor of one of Trump’s own boisterous rallies, Modi later asked the crowd to give a standing ovation to Trump for his stance

HOUSTON: US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared themselves united in a relentless fight against “terrorism,” vowing a close, personal alliance in front of tens of thousands of Indian-Americans.

The two leaders, like-minded nationalists fond of fiery rallies and skeptical of traditional media, heaped praise on each other in an unusual joint appearance inside a football stadium in Houston.

To the bhangra beats of four drummers in saffron turbans, Trump in his dark suit and Modi in a yellow kurta and vest made a grand entrance with arms clenched together to ecstatic cheers from a crowd estimated by organizers at 50,000.

Trump won his biggest applause when he told the crowd, many wearing the saffron of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, “We are committed to protecting innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.”

Taking the flavor of one of Trump’s own boisterous rallies, Modi later asked the crowd to give a standing ovation to Trump for his stance.

Protesters gathered outside of the NRG Stadium with placards and shirts that said, “Free Kashmir” and accused Modi of violating religious freedom — a cause frequently evoked by the Trump administration.

The event — dubbed, with a Texan twang, “Howdy, Modi!” — was billed as the largest gathering ever by a foreign leader other than the pope in the US.

Hoping to ensure that it remains bipartisan, organizers also invited prominent Democrats.

Presidential contender Bernie Sanders, who did not attend, was more direct, saying that Trump showed a “deafening silence” on the clampdown in Kashmir.

“I know that when a president stays silent in the face of religious persecution, repression and brutality, the dangerous message this sends to authoritarian leaders around the world is, ‘Go ahead, you can get away with it,’” Sanders wrote in the Houston Chronicle.

Speaking of his record as if on the campaign trail, Trump made no mention of many Indians’ concerns over US visa policy — but highlighted his efforts to turn back undocumented immigrants from Central America.

Hardly known for his celebrations of ethnic diversity, Trump said to Indian-Americans, “We love you.”

“You enrich our culture, you uphold our values, you uplift our communities and you are truly proud to be American — and we are proud to have you as Americans,” he said.

Sporting a vest in yellow embroidery from Modi’s home state of Gujarat as well as a cap in the Indian tricolor, Bhavin Parikh of Sacramento, California said he wanted to show support for Modi and called the event “historic” due to Trump’s presence.

But he demurred on whether the gathering indicated backing Trump.

“It is not a question of Democrat or Republican. It’s the American president supporting the Indian prime minister,” he said.