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IS claims responsibility for deadly attack in Austria

Vienna: Austrian investigators were piecing together the Nov 2 rampage through central Vienna by a lone gunman and later claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Four people were killed when Kujtim Fejzulai, described as a 20-year-old IS sympathizer who had spent time in prison, opened fire with a Kalashnikov in a busy area of the Austrian capital the day before the country went into a new coronavirus lockdown.

IS — which has claimed numerous attacks in Europe — said a “soldier of the caliphate” was responsible for the carnage, according to its propaganda agency.

Police shot the gunman dead and later swooped on 18 different addresses and made 14 arrests as they looked for possible accomplices and sought to determine if he had acted alone.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz condemned the shooting as a “repulsive terror attack”.

He called on the European Union to fight against “political Islam” saying it was an ideology that represented a “danger” to the model of the European way of life, in an interview published in Germany’s Die Welt newspaper.

The attack came after several Islamist atrocities in France, including an assault on churchgoers in the Mediterranean city of Nice and the beheading of a schoolteacher near Paris.

The recent re-publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in France has caused new tensions worldwide, sparking protests in some Muslim-majority countries and calls from several terror groups for their followers to take revenge.

We will not give in: Macron after Vienna attack

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has said his country and its citizens share the shock and sorrow of the Austrian people following the shootings in Vienna, pledging that “our enemies must know who they are dealing with. We will not give in.”

“After France, it is a friendly country that is attacked. This is our Europe. Our enemies must know who they are dealing with. We will not give in,” Macron wrote on Twitter.

France has been placed on its highest level of terrorism alert since three people were killed by a knife attack at the Notre-Dame basilica in the southern city of Nice.

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Hindu homes vandalized in B’desh over alleged post slandering Islam

Dhaka: The houses of several Hindu families have been vandalized and burned by some radical Islamists in Bangladesh’s Comilla district over rumors about an alleged Facebook post slandering Islam, according to a media report.

The households were vandalized and later set on fire on Nov 1 after a Bangladeshi man, who lives in France, allegedly praised President Emmanuel Macron for taking steps against “inhumane ideologies” after a teacher in Paris was decapitated for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, bdnews24.com reported.

The headmaster of a kindergarten school in Purbo Dhour welcomed Macron’s action in a comment on the post.

As the rumors about the Facebook post spread, tension mounted in the area, the report said.

The police arrested two people on charges of hurting the religious sentiments, the report quoted Qamruzzaman Talukder, Officer-in-Charge of Bangra Bazar Police Station, as saying.

They include the headmaster of the kindergarten. The other person is a resident of nearby Andikot village.

“The situation is under control now,” Md Abul Fazal Mir, deputy commissioner of Comilla district, told bdnews24.com after visiting the area. Syed Nurul Islam, Superintendent of Police, has also visited the scene.

The deputy commissioner said the locals carried out arson attacks on homes, including those of the two arrestees.

Asked what measures the authorities have taken against the attackers, Mir said the administration has swung into action.

Demonstrations against France over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad have been taking place in different Muslim-majority countries for some days.

Bangladeshi authorities have deployed four platoons of police in Kurbanpur and Andikot villages to keep the situation under control. (Hindustan Times)

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France warns citizens as Muslim world seethes

Paris: France warned its citizens living or travelling in several Muslim-majority countries to take extra security precautions as anger surged over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

A rift between France and Muslim nations is growing after French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this month that Islam was in “crisis”.

From proposing stricter laws to uphold the principle of secularism to using terms like “Islamic separatism” and Islamic terror attacks”, Macron’s comments have evoked severe backlash from countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Iran among others.

France’s foreign ministry issued safety advice to French citizens in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iraq and Mauritania, advising them to exercise caution. “They should stay away from any protests over the cartoons and avoid any public gatherings.”

Tension escalated after French teacher Samuel Paty was killed on October 16 near his school in broad daylight. He had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his students. Since the crime, French officials were perceived as linking the killing to Islam.

While eulogizing the teacher on October 21, Macron declared that “France will not give up cartoons”.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Macron and even questioned the mental state of his French counterpart.

As the discourse seeped to the general populace on social media, many accused France of using secularism to persecute Muslim minorities in France and #BoycottFrenchProducts trended on Twitter.

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