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Washington : White man kills nine at historic black church

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Washington: Shock and anger engulfed America, as police nabbed a white young man who killed nine people at a historic black church in Charleston in South Carolina, saying he was there “to shoot black people”.

Mourning the nine deaths at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church late on Wednesday night, America’s first African-American President, Barack Obama said that the shooting rekindles memories of a “dark part of our history”.

In a short and sombre statement from the White House on Thursday, Obama also restarted a debate over the nation’s recent history with gun violence, saying, “I’ve had to make statements like this too many times”.

“At some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other developed countries,” he said.

According to CBS, this was the 14th time Obama made a statement after a mass shooting.

It was another example, he said, of innocent people being killed because someone who “wanted to inflict harm” had “no trouble getting their hands on a gun”.

Police on Thursday arrested the suspect identified as Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, in Shelby, North Carolina, a town east of Charlotte and just north of the South Carolina state line, after a massive manhunt.

After Roof’s arrest, South Carolina’s Indian-American governor, Nikki Haley said: “We woke up today and the heart and soul of South Carolina is broken.”

“So we have some grieving to do, and we have some pain we have to go through,” said a choked-up Haley.

“Parents are having to explain to their kids that they can go to church and feel safe, and that’s not something we’ve had to deal with.”

Charleston officials said the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were helping with the investigation, which is being categorised as a “hate crime”.

The Justice Department is also opening a parallel hate crime review into the case.

Roof spent an hour in a prayer meeting at the church on Wednesday night, before he opened fire, CNN reported citing Charleston police chief Greg Mullen.

Among those killed were Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor and a state senator. Other victims in the Charleston church shooting were six women and two men.

Three people survived, including a woman who received a chilling message from the shooter.

“Her life was spared, and (she was) told, ‘I’m not going to kill you, I’m going to spare you, so you can tell them what happened’,” Dot Scott, president of the Charleston unit of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), told CNN.

Scott said she heard this from the victims’ family members.

The NAACP is a civil rights organisation for ethnic minorities in the US.

According to Atlantic weekly, the shooting spree in Charleston was the latest assault on black churches for generations.
Black churches have suffered at the hands of thugs and terrorists throughout the Civil Rights era, as they had for a century before.

On September 15, 1963, Klu Klux Klan terrorists bombed the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four girls, it was recalled.
As recently as the 1990s, a wave of fire-bombings hit black churches.
The Atlantic identified at least eight black churches in South Carolina alone, that suffered probable arson attacks. (IANS)

  • Will Obama wake up and take steps to RESTRICT guns in USA? The underlying cause of violence is easy access to guns in this country.

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Internet Firms Initiate Steps to Counter Online Hate speech and Incitements to Violence

Internet companies have increasingly found themselves in the crosshairs over hate speech and other volatile social issues

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GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving joins the celebration during New York Stock Exchange opening bell ceremonies for his company's IPO, April 1, 2015. VOA
  • The internet domain registration of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer was revoked twice in less than 24 hours
  • After GoDaddy revoked Daily Stormer’s registration, the website turned to Alphabet’s Google Domains
  • Twitter, Facebook, Google’s YouTube and other platforms have ramped up efforts to combat the social media efforts of Islamic militant groups, largely in response to pressure from European governments

The internet domain registration of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer was revoked twice in less than 24 hours in the wake of the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, part of a broad move by the tech industry in recent months to take a stronger hand in policing online hate speech and incitements to violence.

GoDaddy, which manages internet names and registrations, disclosed late Sunday via Twitter that it had given Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider, saying it had violated GoDaddy’s terms of service.

The white supremacist website helped organize the weekend rally in Charlottesville where a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a man plowed a car into a crowd protesting the white nationalist rally.

After GoDaddy revoked Daily Stormer’s registration, the website turned to Alphabet’s Google Domains. The Daily Stormer domain was registered with Google shortly before 8 a.m. Monday PDT (1500 GMT) and the company announced plans to revoke it at 10:56 a.m., according to a person familiar with the revocation.

As of late Monday, the site was still running on a Google-registered domain. Google issued a statement but did not say when the site would be taken down.

ALSO READ: People who use Internet a lot may experience increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure when they go offline: Scientists

Caught in the middle

Internet companies have increasingly found themselves in the crosshairs over hate speech and other volatile social issues, with politicians and others calling on them to do more to police their networks while civil libertarians worry about the firms suppressing free speech.

Twitter, Facebook, Google’s YouTube and other platforms have ramped up efforts to combat the social media efforts of Islamic militant groups, largely in response to pressure from European governments. Now they are facing similar pressures in the United States over white supremacist and neo-Nazi content.

Facebook confirmed Monday that it took down the event page that was used to promote and organize the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

Facebook allows people to organize peaceful protests or rallies, but the social network said it would remove such pages when a threat of real-world harm and affiliation with hate organizations becomes clear.

“Facebook does not allow hate speech or praise of terrorist acts or hate crimes, and we are actively removing any posts that glorify the horrendous act committed in Charlottesville,” the company said in a statement.

Several companies acted

Several other companies also took action. Canadian internet company Tucows stopped hiding the domain registration information of Andrew Anglin, the founder of Daily Stormer. Tucows, which was previously providing the website with services masking Anglin’s phone number and email address, said Daily Stormer had breached its terms of service.

“They are inciting violence,” said Michael Goldstein, vice president for sales and marketing at Tucows, a Toronto-based company. “It’s a dangerous site and people should know who it is coming from.”

Anglin did not respond to a request for comment.

Discord, a 70-person San Francisco company that allows video gamers to communicate across the internet, did not mince words in its decision to shut down the server of Altright.com, an alt-right news website, and the accounts of other white nationalists.

“We will continue to take action against white supremacy, Nazi ideology, and all forms of hate,” the company said in a tweet Monday. Altright.com did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Twilio Chief Executive Jeff Lawson tweeted Sunday that the company would update its use policy to prohibit hate speech. Twilio’s services allow companies and organizations, such as political groups or campaigns, to send text messages to their communities.

Arbiters of acceptable speech

Internet companies, which enjoy broad protections under U.S. law for the activities of people using their services, have mostly tried to avoid being arbiters of what is acceptable speech.

But the ground is now shifting, said one executive at a major Silicon Valley firm. Twitter, for one, has moved sharply against harassment and hate speech after enduring years of criticism for not doing enough.

Facebook is beefing up its content monitoring teams. Google is pushing hard on new technology to help it monitor and delete YouTube videos that celebrate violence.

All this comes as an influential bloc of senators, including Republican Senator Rob Portman and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, is pushing legislation that would make it easier to penalize operators of websites that facilitate online sex trafficking of women and children.

That measure, despite the noncontroversial nature of its espoused goal, was met with swift and coordinated opposition from tech firms and internet freedom groups, who fear that being legally liable for the postings of users would be a devastating blow to the internet industry. (VOA)

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Five Years of Massacre: Sikh Community in US Continue to Hail Act Of Kindness

Devout male followers of the Sikh faith, a monotheistic religion that originated in Northern India, keep long beards and wear turbans, and often are confused with Muslims

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Six people were killed when a white supremacist attacked the Gurdwara or Sikh Temple of Wisconsin five years ago. VOA

Aug 06, 2017: Over the past year, minorities across the United States have increased their outreach to the public and efforts to make their voices heard amid fears of a White Supremacy movement.

The Sikhs of Oak Creek, however, were working to raise awareness of their faith and uplift their community long before 2016.

On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist named Wade Michael Page killed six believers of the Sikh faith in their house of worship, a Gurdwara, outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Mourners attend the funeral and memorial service for the six victims of the Sikh temple of Wisconsin mass shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Aug. 10, 2012. VOA

In the five years since, members of the Gurdwara have organized scholarships, blood drives, 6K walks and runs, and presentations on understanding the Sikh faith in local schools.

“My outreach is also a coping mechanism,” Pardeep Kaleka, whose father was one of the six victims, told VOA. “Processing my own pain and hurt… I’d rather just go into the community and make it better for everybody else.”

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Members of the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, prepare a communal meal for the community. VOA

Immediately after the shooting, the Sikh community increased its efforts to invite people of all faiths to come to the temple and learn about Sikhism.

But Navdeep Gill, who co-founded the temple’s outreach program, “Serve to Unite,” with Kaleka, says they soon realized they also needed to spread awareness outside the temple after members of the community said they were uncomfortable attending Sikh services.

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“Peacekeepers” at a Montessori school made this mural after a workshop with “Serve to Unite” – the organization started by the son of one of the victims of the 2012 shooting. VOA

“Whatever faith you practice, whatever community you come from, you should feel comfortable attending an event,” said Gill, who was tasked with organizing events commemorating the 5th anniversary of the shooting. “Whether that’s in schools, churches, telling other people who Sikhs are, as well as trying to learn about other people and see where the commonalities exist.”

Also Read: California Sikh community Raises Money to keep City’s Fireworks Show Alive

 Saturday’s 6K run is the 5th instance of the annual event. The blood drive was added three years ago to the August 5 activities.
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A man completes the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin’s 6k “Chardhi Kala” Run with a high five. VOA

This year, members of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin had their first float in the 4th of July parade. Though organizers were initially skeptical, Gill said it was well received and prompted non-Indian neighbors to strike up conversations with participating Sikhs.

Devout male followers of the Sikh faith, a monotheistic religion that originated in Northern India, keep long beards and wear turbans, and often are confused with Muslims.

And while some minorities across the country have expressed feeling less safe since U.S. President Donald Trump’s election, Oak Creek Sikhs say the political climate hasn’t affected their community.

“Honestly, nothing has changed,” Navdeesh Toor, an Oak Creek resident and member of the Gurdwara for the past eight years, told VOA.

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People gather in Lafayette near the White House, Aug. 8, 2012 to participate in a candlelight vigil against hate violence. VOA

Toor said that although hate crimes have received more media attention in the past year, which some attribute partly to divisive rhetoric heard during President Trump’s campaign and first few months in office, she doesn’t see any impact on her community.

“A vast majority of Wisconsinites voted for Trump, including minorities and a lot of desis [South Asians] I know,” she said, adding that she didn’t fault her neighbors for voting for “the lesser of two evils” in 2016.

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Regardless of politics in Washington, survivors of the 2012 shooting, along with their friends, family, and fellow members of the Gurdwara, have not lost momentum in their pursuit of engaging the community.

“It’s not just about organizing 5Ks, it’s about… what we’re really being asked to do spiritually,” Kaleka said.

“I think there’s a reason [the shooting] happened, a reason those people who stood up made that sacrifice. This community has really stood up.” (VOA)

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Yazidi Woman who Survived Genocide Equates the Current Situation to Jewish Holocausts

Yazidi woman Nadia Murad Basee survived the atrocities committed by ISIS and explains how the situation is similar to Jewish Holocausts

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Nadia Murad Basee with the Pope. Twitter
  • Nadia Murad Basee, a Yazidi woman, shared her experience of the atrocities that she underwent because of ISIS
  • Having escaped from ISIS’ captivity, the brave woman is now urging for retributive justice
  • She equates the experience of Yazidi people to the Jewish Holocaust in Germany 

July 25, 2017: Nadia Murad Basee is a Yazidi woman who was captured by ISIS from her village Kocho, Iraq in August 2014. The terrorist organization sold her as a sex slave. Nadia’s life was shattered. Six of her brothers were killed during the ISIS raid on her house.

Nadia, who dreamt of becoming a teacher, had her life destroyed by the extremists. After months of captivity, however, she was able to escape from the hands of her kidnappers. The room where she was held was left unlocked by one of the men. Grabbing the opportunity, Nadia ran off.

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Today, Nadia Murad Basee is part of the refugee asylum program in Germany amongst thousands of people. Her remarkable bravery is exhibited as she shares her story around the world.

The Yazidi woman was chosen by United Nations as the Goodwill Ambassador in 2016. She advocates for the rights and justice of Yazidi people and urges strong action against the men who committed the crimes.

Yazidis are seen as non-believers by the extremist organization ISIS. Over 5,200 Yazidis have been abducted by ISIS in Iraq.

Nadia equates the current situation to the Jewish Holocaust in Germany. As she claims, there are striking similarities. She has received assistance from IsraAID and Yazda which are non-profit organizations set up to help victims of such crimes. As Nadia puts it, these organizations have been more helpful than “any government”.

[bctt tweet=”Yazidis are seen as non-believers by the extremist organization ISIS. Over 5,200 Yazidis have been abducted by ISIS in Iraq.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

Speaking with The Jerusalem Post in Israel, Nadia said “We think our case is relevant to what they have been through in the Holocaust. It’s the thing we are going through. We think they’ll understand our case more than anybody else. We have been in many countries, meeting with governments for help for the Yazidi communities. I always wanted to come here to Israel, a lot of victims wanted to come and ask for help from the government and people of Israel.”

In the memory of Jewish genocide victims, Israel’s parliament Knesset is holding a conference where Nadia is supposed to speak on the same. Just as Hitler’s forces committed hate crimes against the Jews, ISIS has been doing the same with the Yazidi people.

Also Read: Yazidi Woman who Suffered 10 months as Sex Slave under Islamic State (ISIS) comes to Washington for Help

Nadia acknowledges the courage of the Jews to pick themselves up after the brutal crimes committed against them. She hopes that her community learns and does the same.

The mass murder of Yazidi community by ISIS constitutes a hate crime. Murad’s objective is to highlight this crime against the members of her community and punish the perpetrators.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394