By Ali Murat Alhas</p> <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkish president on Saturday joined the “Hello Brother” social media campaign, which refers to the final words of the first victim in New Zealand mosque attacks. </p> <p>Terror victim Haji Daoud Nabi, 71-year-old Afghan national, said "Hello Brother" to the gunman -- who massacred dozens of innocent Muslims in al-Noor Mosque -- moments before being shot dead at the entrance of the mosque. </p> <p>President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shared a video on his Twitter account with #HelloBrother and greeted Nabi, who became a symbol of innocence on social media. </p> <p>Erdogan also retweeted videos shared by prominent Turkish football teams and the country’s English-langue broadcaster TRT WORLD to support the campaign. </p> <p>At least 50 Muslims were killed and as many injured on March 15 when a terrorist -- identified as Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, 28 -- entered the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch and shot worshippers in cold blood, including four children younger than 18. </p> <p>The terror suspect has been charged for the massacre and is being held at a maximum-security prison in Auckland.
By Recep Sakar</p> <p>MELBOURNE, Australia (AA) - The deputy leader of the opposition's Labor Party visited mosques Friday which belong to Turkish societies in Sydney.</p> <p>"Today I visited mosques in Redfern and Erskineville. I met with leaders and community members, and stood with people of all faiths in support of our Muslim community," Tanya Plibersek wrote on Twitter. "Let’s ensure love and solidarity triumph over hate.”</p> <p>Together with Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance Director Hakan Evecek, Plibersek visited the Redfern Mosque -- the second oldest Turkish mosque in Sydney, which is operating under Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, and she met with Ahmet Solak, head of Redfern Islamic Society.</p> <p>Plibersek is also Shadow Minister for Education and Training, as well as Shadow Minister for Women in Australia.</p> <p>In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in New Zealand which claimed at least 50 lives, Plibersek said the government would give its utmost support to increase security measures in mosques.</p> <p>The terrorist identified as Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, 28, entered two mosques in Christchurch, and shot worshippers during Friday prayers in cold blood, including four children.
- Jeyhun Aliyev contributed to this story from Ankara
By Riyaz ul Khaliq</p> <p> <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s president is the first leader to recognize the leadership and response of New Zealand’s government in the wake of recent terror attacks, a global expert on relation between Islam and the West said Friday.</p> <p>Speaking to Cathy Van Extel on her morning Radio show on ABC Australia, the Director of the Centre for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul’s Zaim University, Dr. Sami A. Al-Arian said Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sending a stern message to those like terrorist Brenton Tarrant after the massacre of 50 Muslims last Friday in Christchurch</p> <p>“Basically he was sending a message that if anybody of the same ilk is going to come to Istanbul they will be met with stern response and won’t be allowed to do whatever they want,”. Al-Arian said in reference to a manifesto of the New Zealand terrorist.</p> <p>CIGA is a think-tank affiliated with Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University that works on geopolitics, Islamophobia, relations between Islam and the West, issues related to the development of Muslim societies, and policy making.</p> <p>The CIGA director said Erdogan recognized the response of New Zealand government led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the terror attack at many places in Turkey during the March 31 election campaign.</p> <p>“President Erdogan is the only leader who sent his vice-president and his foreign minister immediately to talk to the prime minister and thank her for the response.”</p> <p>There is no other government that did that, Al-Arian said. “The two top [Turkish government] officials came to New Zealand within very few hours,” he said.</p> <p>Last week, at least 50 Muslims were killed and as many injured when Australian-born Tarrant, 28, entered the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch and shot indiscriminately at those inside.</p> <p> <p>Tarrant has been charged for the massacre and is being held at a maximum-security prison in Auckland.</p> <p> <p>Among the victims were four children aged 3 - 16 who were shot dead in cold blood. Other children are still being treated at nearby hospitals.</p> <p> <p>“It has been a shock for people around the world and especially here in Turkey. People did not expect these things to happen especially in a place like New Zealand,” Al-Arian said.</p> <p> <p>“And they were more shocked by the manifesto that came with that killer and how he was trying basically to start a religious war by his incessant references to Turkey, to President Erdogan, to history, to the type of religious hatred he espoused as well as to references to Istanbul and to modern times,” the CIGA director said.</p> <p> <p>On the emergency Organization of Islamic Conference meeting in Istanbul on Friday, Al-Arian said that “this phenomenon of white supremacism and far right wings group attacks have been proliferating throughout Europe, United States, as well as in Australia, and now in New Zealand. The world needs to put a stop to it.</p> <p> <p>“There has to be a strategy where governments have to be involved,” he said, adding, “we can’t let this one go on otherwise we’re going to see more of these [attacks] and there may be other people who might start shooting at different religions, different races… it is going to get out of hand. So, there has to be a coordinated effort where all governments have to be involved and they have to put a stop to it.”</p> <p> <p>The CIGA director said governments need to start with cooperation. “We need to see the leadership of the prime minister of New Zealand. She has really shown herself to be an example of what real leadership can be… and out of these dark times there could be opportunities for more understanding and more cooperation.”</p> <p> <p>Al-Arian said the whole world has united in condemning the New Zealand attacks and “basically in rejecting the message of hate and hostility that the perpetrator was trying to push and promote.”</p> <p> <p>“We need to see some real policies … there are lot of policies around the world and one can see in today’s United States’ Trump where they are trying to use these racial and religious hatred towards each other for political reasons. The Muslim ban that [Trump] has espoused and many policies we can see [that] some governments are trying to institute … these are very dangerous precedents,” he said.</p> <p> <p>The global expert on geo-politics and engagements within and outside Muslim societies, Al-Arian further said that there would be more “coordinated efforts to stop this [hatred] and also to roll back the influence of some leaders who espouse Islamophobia in all kinds of settings and as well as not only with regard to government policies, but also try to see something positive not just on the defensive side but also to see more programs where they promote religious tolerance, cooperation, real understanding of the different religions and different issues where people are trying to exploit these differences out of ignorance in order to promote hatred, hostility and violence”.</p> <p> <p>Reflecting upon the criticism meted out to Erdogan’s statements after New Zealand terror attacks, Al-Arian said the Turkish president considers himself obviously as the voice for Turkey, but also for the whole Muslim world at large as well.</p> <p> <p>“Some of these [critical] voices that came through this manifesto and different right wing groups, they try to use some words as well as some positions in order to start a religious war and what the President [Erdogan] is trying to say is that this will fail,” Al-Arian explained.</p> <p> <p>“President Erdogan does not believe that it is a ‘lone wolf kind of a thing’; he believes that there are some forces behind him [New Zealand terrorist] and they are trying to push him, he may be a front.”</p> <p> <p>Al-Arian believes Erdogan is trying to send out a message that any act against Turkey would be met with a strong response. “But that does not mean he is trying to address governments … [but] he is trying to send a message to these [racist] people in particular.”</p> <p>On showing the video of the terror attack at one of the election campaign rallies of Erdogan, Al-Arian said people should read the manifesto of the terrorist.</p> <p> <p>“If people do not read the manifesto of the killer terrorist, they may not understand where Erdogan is coming from. The terrorist was trying to allude to sending armies, white supremacist, to get back Istanbul and of course he used the old name – Constantinople – and what Erdogan was trying to say is that ‘this will never happen’,” Al-Arian explained.</p> <p> <p>He said the terrorist was in Istanbul twice in the past months. “The Turkish government is still investigating as what he was trying to do here,” the CIGA director said.</p> <p> <p>On Erdogan’s global outreach, the noted academic said the Turkish president is seen as leader of the Muslims around the world. “Look at his history,” Al-Arian said of Erdogan. “When the Arab spring  came about, he was the loudest voice championing the peoples call for change throughout the Arab world,” he said.</p> <p> <p>The Turkish president, Al-Arian said, until today has not recognized the 2013 military coup in Egypt which toppled the country’s first elected President Mohammad Morsi.</p> <p> <p>“[Instead] he has opened his country’s doors, for asylum, for all the people who have been basically targeted for political reasons.”</p> <p> </p> <p>
By Nilay Kar Onum</p> <p>ISTANBUL (AA) - Dubbing Friday’s emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Istanbul “timely”, Pakistan’s top diplomat said it will “create an environment of unity” within and beyond the Muslim world in the wake of New Zealand terror attacks on mosques.</p> <p>Speaking to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview in Istanbul on the sidelines of the OIC meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi described the “tragic” twin mosque attacks.</p> <p>“We were shocked and horrified at what happened because there were innocent people gathered in the mosque to pray, not hurting anyone, just worshiping,” Qureshi said.</p> <p>“They were killed in cold blood,” he said, “The whole thing has been filmed live to create a sensation to score a point.”</p> <p>“At the same time, we are shocked that this rising Islamophobia is not being addressed, in the way that it should have been addressed. Such incidents are being repeated all over.</p> <p>“A peaceful place like Christchurch, a peaceful country, very friendly country, like New Zealand, if attacks hit, nothing is safe and no place is safe," he said. </p> <p>Last Friday, at least 50 Muslims were killed and as many injured when a terrorist -- identified as Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, 28, -- entered the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch and shot worshippers in cold blood, including four children younger than 18.</p> <p>Istanbul hosted an emergency OIC meeting at Turkey’s request Friday, which hosted New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters, as well.</p> <p>“Convening of this meeting, in my view, is very timely and it will help and create an environment first of unity within the Muslim world and then of awareness beyond it to deal with such issues,” Qureshi said.</p> <p>Turkey plays a positive role in the OIC in the wake of such attacks, he said. “Turkey’s response was immediate, compassionate, human and Islamic. Islamic and human responses, they go hand in hand.” </p> <p>“Pakistan’s response was also immediate. Obviously, we lost nine people as well and one is still in critical,” he added.</p> <p>Pakistani foreign minister also recalled that a courageous Pakistani man killed in the New Zealand attacks.</p> <p>“A Pakistani person in trying to save lives got murdered. He was unable to save his own son, but protected many other innocent people. He is being awarded and he will be given the highest civilian award by the government of Pakistan."</p> <p>The massacre was livestreamed on social media, and accompanied by the release of a racist and Islamophobic manifesto that also attacked Turkey and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.</p> <p>On Turkey and Erdogan being at the target of the terrorist, Qureshi said Erdogan is a “person who minces no words and takes a very clear position” at tough times.</p> <p>“Any individual, who speaks openly with clarity and independently, is seen as a threat to many,” he stated.</p> <p>Qureshi voiced his hope that some global measures can be taken to “deal with this growing trend of Islamophobia”.</p> <p>“I think media has to play a significant role in creating a better environment and tackling this issue head-on.</p> <p>“Social media has to play a more responsible role and thinking people and caring people in Western capitals have to be more vocal against Islamophobia,” he asserted.</p> <p>On the reaction by the Western countries in the wake of the twin terror attacks, Pakistani foreign minister said: "Societies, people and the West are also very compassionate and caring."</p> <p>Also speaking of the rising extremism in the West, Qureshi said: "There is an extreme-right element, which unfortunately is now gradually on the rise in the West. They play sentiments like Islamophobia. They take on extremist positions that give rights to extremism."</p> <p> </p> <p>- Tension with India</p> <p>The tension escalated between Pakistan and India recently after a suicide bombing in disputed Jammu and Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary troops Feb. 14.</p> <p>Qureshi called the recent tension between the two nuclear neighbors “unfortunate”.</p> <p>“Pakistan never wanted tension,” he said. “Pakistan wanted to defuse the situation.”</p> <p>He went on saying: “Pakistan was attacked. There was an act of aggression against Pakistan. Our airspace was violated, our sovereignty and our territorial integrity were attacked. So, Pakistan had no choice but retaliated in self-defense.”</p> <p>“We’ve been telling the Indians we have issues but let’s try to resolve the issue through consistent and uninterrupted dialogue.”</p> <p>“India is perhaps not ready yet,” the Pakistani FM said, however, he voiced hope that two countries will sit across the table and sort out issues after upcoming elections in India in April and May.</p> <p>Terming Pakistan as “constructive, engaging and positive,” in terms of defusing the tension with India, Qureshi said: “Despite being attacked, we immediately released their pilot as a goodwill gesture and as a gesture of peace.”</p> <p>Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China. </p> <p>Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.</p> <p> </p> <p>- India’s seeking membership in OIC</p> <p>When asked about India’s pursuing a member status in the OIC, Qureshi said, “India is neither a member nor an observer of the OIC.“</p> <p>“For example, Muslims were attacked and killed [in New Zealand] and they were innocent. Why the Indian condemnation does not mention Muslims?</p> <p>“Why have they completely ignored; they said the places of worship; the mosques. Those places of worship are mosques. What was the harm in using the word ‘mosque’?” he asked.</p> <p>“Aren’t there thousands of mosques in India. You claimed that you have a huge Muslim population in India. On this basis, you want to be a part of the OIC.”</p> <p>“There is no mention of the mosque, no mention of Muslims. It is a double standard,” he said adding: “OIC should see it for itself.”</p> <p> </p> <p>- Relations with Turkey</p> <p>In regards to relations between Turkey and Pakistan, Qureshi said: “They have always been good. Inshallah, they will always remain good. People of Pakistan value this relationship.”</p> <p>Stating that the relations were not just centered on governments and leaders but also focused on people, he said: “Turks will smile when they meet a Pakistani. Pakistanis feel very warm about Turks.”</p> <p>“We have a history,” Pakistani foreign minister said. “We have a future together.”</p> <p>
By Betul Yuruk
NEW YORK (AA) – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday visited Islamic Cultural Center's mosque in New York, calling for efforts to ensure the global safety of worshippers and the protection of religious sites.
Guterres visited the mosque before the Friday prayer service, offering "solidarity with the Muslim community from New York to New Zealand and beyond."
"Today and every day, we must stand united against anti-Muslim hatred and all forms of bigotry," said the UN chief.
Last Friday, a terrorist open fired on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing at least 50 victims.
Over the past week, many of the victims' names became known, thanks in part to many on social media who have shared their stories, such as Mucad Ibrahim, a three-year-old, the youngest of the Christchurch victims and Farid Ahmed, who lost his wife after she jumped in front of him to protect him from the terrorist's gunfire.
Guterres called the attack appalling, yet "perhaps not utterly surprising".
"Around the world, we have seen ever-rising anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism, hate speech and bigotry," Guterres said. "I have repeatedly warned about those dangers."
Guterres requested the High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, Miguel Moratinos, to create an action plan for the whole UN body to be fully engaged in support of safeguarding religious sites.
"Here today, in the peace of this holy space, I am making a global call to reaffirm the sanctity of all places of worship and the safety of all worshippers who visit revered sites in a spirit of compassion and tolerance," Guterres said.
The UN chief also warned that hateful rhetoric is being spread around like "wildfire".
"Many political movements are either openly admitting their neo-Nazi affiliation, or lip syncing their words, and cutting and pasting the symbols and images," he said.
Part of the fire's spread is due to the role the media has played in perpetuating that Muslims are extremists, according to Guterres.
A study published in January by Georgia State University and the University of Alabama found that between the years 2006 and 2015, attacks in the U.S. by those claiming to be Muslim received 357 percent more news coverage than attacks carried out by others.
"We need to act against extremism in all its forms – whether it targets mosques, synagogues, churches or anywhere else," Guterres said.
Guterres sent a message to the Muslims around the world: "You are not alone. The world is with you. The United Nations is with you, and I am with you."
He was joined by Turkey's UN Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu as well as representatives from New Zealand, Australia, Kuwait and Pakistan.
*Umar Farooq in Washington contributed to the story
UPDATES WITH REMARKS BY PRESIDENT IN AMASYA ELECTION RALLY
By Aynur Ekiz and Esin Isik
ANKARA (AA) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Israel has no rights over the Golan Heights.
"Under UN resolutions, Israel cannot lay claim even on a small bit of Golan Heights," Erdogan said at an election rally in Turkey's central province of Konya.
The UN Human Rights Council on Friday passed a resolution opposing the Israeli occupation of Golan Heights, urging Israel to comply with UN resolutions.
The resolution was accepted with 26 votes in favor, 16 against and five abstentions.
This came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said “it was time for the U.S. to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights”.
Israel has long pushed Washington to recognize its claim over the territory it seized from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel occupies roughly two-thirds of the wider Golan Heights as a de facto result of the conflict. It moved to formally annex the territory in 1981 — an action unanimously rejected at the time by the UN Security Council.
Today’s resolution called on Israel to allow Syrians in the occupied Golan Heights to visit their families, access of international institutions to the region and release all Syrian detainees, including those who have been held in Israeli jails for 30 years.
Also addressing the nation in an election rally in the Black Sea province of Amasya, Erdogan touched on last week's Islamophobic terrorist attack in New Zealand.
He said the terrorist — who killed at least 50 Muslim people during weekly Friday's prayer by opening fire on them in the Al Noor and Linwood mosques — showed how far such hostility against the Muslim community can go.
"It is now clear that no place in the world, no geography and no culture can shield itself against terror's poison and bloody fist," Erdogan said.
- Writing by Vakkas Dogantekin, Beyza Binnur Donmez
By Davut Colak</p> <p>COPENHAGEN (AA) - Right wing extremist leader of a Danish party on Friday burnt a copy of Muslim holy book to protest people performing weekly prayer in front of Danish parliament.</p> <p>In an attempt to provoke the Muslims’ Friday weekly prayer in front of the Danish parliament -- which was organized after legal permissions acquired to protest last week's deadly terror attacks in New Zealand --, a group of extreme right wingers carried Israeli flag and disturbed the Muslim group with air horns during their prayer. </p> <p>Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Stram Kurs -- anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic party -- tried to provoke people by burning a copy of Quran.</p> <p>The Copenhagen police took intensive security measures and six people were detained.</p> <p>Last Friday, at least 50 Muslims were killed and as many injured when a terrorist -- identified as Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, 28, -- entered the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and shot worshippers in cold blood, including four children younger than 18.</p> <p>* Writing by Gozde Bayar
By Mehmet Kara</p> <p>ISTANBUL (AA) - New Zealand's deputy prime minister praised a Turkish singer for donating income generated from a concert to victims of last Friday’s terrorist attack.</p> <p>"We are very happy to receive the income of the concert in [Turkey's northwestern province of] Canakkale to the victims of terror in our country,” said Winston Peters, who is also the foreign minister, at an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).</p> <p>Last Friday, at least 50 Muslims were killed and dozens injured when a terrorist entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and shot worshippers in cold blood.</p> <p>Haluk Levent, a renowned Turkish singer, told Anadolu Agency: "I got positive reactions from the Muslims of New Zealand. I believe we have bolstered solidarity."
Levent's concert on Tuesday was among the many charity works he is engaged in.
By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has earned laurels for leading her country with grace and empathy in the aftermath of last week's twin terror attacks that claimed 50 lives.
In her first public statement following the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, she did not mince words in calling the incident terrorism and described it as the "darkest day of the country".
Friday marked exactly one week since a terrorist opened fire on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques. Ardern joined thousands of mourners for prayers in Hagley Park opposite Al Noor mosque wearing a black headscarf once again.
The 38-year-old leader had encouraged her country-women to wear headscarves at the prayer in a show of support for the Muslim community.
"According to the Muslim faith, the Prophet Muhammed, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam [peace be upon him], said the believers, in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body.
"When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain," she said.
"New Zealand mourns with you. We are one," she added.
A day after the attack, Ardern was first seen wearing a headscarf while visiting Muslim community leaders in Christchurch.
"This is not New Zealand. The only part of the incident we have seen over the past 24 to 36 hours that is New Zealand is the support that you are seeing now," she had said.
On Tuesday, a Muslim imam opened New Zealand's Parliament with a prayer. Ardern started her speech with the Muslim greeting "As-salamu alaykum" or "peace be upon you".
"They were New Zealanders, they were us. Because they were us, we mourn them," she said, speaking about the victims.
After stressing gun laws should change in the country, she announced Thursday to ban all military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles.
"On March 15, our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place," said Ardern.
- Early life and politics
Ardern was born in 1980 in Waikato, New Zealand. In October 2017, at the age of 37 she became the country's youngest prime minister since the 1850s.
Less than eight weeks before the general elections, Andrew Little stepped down as leader of the Labour Party. He was replaced by Ardern in August.
She campaigned for free university education, cutting immigration flow, decriminalization of abortion, and the creation of new programs to alleviate poverty among children.
Her party won 36 percent of the votes and formed a coalition government with center-right New Zealand First party.
UPDATE WITH MORE REMARKS BY OIC SECRETARY GENERAL</p> <p>By Andac Hongur</p> <p>ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey’s foreign minister and the head of an international Muslim bloc on Friday urged the world to wage a battle against Islamophobia, intolerance, racism, and terrorism.</p> <p>"We call upon the whole world as a country that has built its foreign policy on human values and as president of the OIC summit," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told an emergency Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Istanbul. "Let's take a comprehensive look at hostility towards Islam, intolerance, racism and terrorism, and fight against them together."</p> <p>Cavusoglu said Turkey appreciated the attitude of New Zealand's people and government in the aftermath of the terrorist attack and saying: "We hope that this attitude will set an example for the countries of the world and especially for the politicians in the countries where racism is increasing."</p> <p>“We will support New Zealand's struggle against terrorism, extremism and anti-Islamism.”</p> <p>Last Friday, at least 50 Muslims were killed and as many injured when a terrorist entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and shot worshippers in cold blood, including four children younger than 18.</p> <p>Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, the OIC’s secretary general, said that in the wake of last week’s attacks, March 15 should become a day of international solidarity against Islamophobia.</p> <p>Othaimeen said: “I would like to thank the government of New Zealand for its political, legal and humanitarian attitude after this terrorist attack. All of our member countries agree on this issue.”</p> <p>He underscored the “hidden danger” of the live broadcast of the massacre which requires an immediate action against it.</p> <p>"We must act in common against hate speech," he said, and added: "We must be wary of the provocative language in the digital world. We must block negative messages that will mobilize large audiences."</p> <p>Othaimeen said the attacks against women wearing headscarves in Europe "are fed by similar sources", referring to the hate speech in the digital world.</p> <p> </p> <p>*Writing by Beyza Binnur Donmez and Erdogan Cagatay Zontur