Mother of dead backpacker slams Trump's 'terror list'

2017-02-08 06:46
Deana Stevenson, 5, protests President Donald Trump's immigration order during a rally at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

Deana Stevenson, 5, protests President Donald Trump's immigration order during a rally at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

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Sydney - The mother of a backpacker killed in Australia has slammed Donald Trump for including the stabbing death on a list of supposedly under-reported terrorist attacks, claiming the president was using her daughter to demonise Muslims.

The US leader this week accused "dishonest" media of purposefully failing to report on attacks by radical jihadists, for which he provided no evidence, in the wake of his contentious travel ban on people from seven mostly-Muslim nations.

The White House distributed a list of 78 incidents it said were "executed or inspired by" the Islamic State group, saying most "have not received the media attention they deserved".

Five Australian attacks were included, including a cafe siege in Sydney in 2014 that received global headlines and the stabbing deaths of British backpackers Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, and Tom Jackson, 30, last year.

Agence France-Presse filed five stories on the backpacker killings which were also widely covered by the British press and other media in Australia and around the world.

'Insane persecution of innocent people'

In an open letter to Trump posted on social media, Ayliffe-Chung's mother Rosie Ayliffe said it was wrong to connect her death with Islamic fundamentalism.

"The possibility of Mia and Tom's deaths being consequent to an Islamic terror attack was discounted in the early stages of the police investigation," she said.

Frenchman Smail Ayad has been charged with their murders at a backpacker a hostel in Home Hill, a rural town in north Queensland state.

Police said they had found no signs of radicalisation despite Ayad saying "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) during the attack, and ruled out any terror links.

"There has been no indication whatsoever that any radicalisation or any political motives existed that caused him to attack the people that he did," Detective Superintendent Ray Rohweder told a press conference last August.

Rosie Ayliffe said "any fool can shout Allahu Akbar as they commit a crime" and said she had travelled extensively in the Islamic world and "encountered nothing but respect and hospitality".

"This vilification of whole nation states and their people based on religion is a terrifying reminder of the horror that can ensue when we allow ourselves to be led by ignorant people into darkness and hatred," she added in the letter.

"My daughter's death will not be used to further this insane persecution of innocent people."

Also on the Trump list of atrocities he claimed were under-reported were the Paris attacks of November 13, 2015, the Nice truck-attack of June 14, 2016, and the San Bernardino mass shooting in California in December 2015.

All dominated global headlines for days.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  australia  |  us

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