Trump adviser says Minnesota mosque blast could be ‘fake hate crime’

Sebastian Gorka said the president wanted to learn more about the event before he makes a statement.
Updated 09 August 2017

Trump adviser says Minnesota mosque blast could be ‘fake hate crime’

DUBAI: A White House national security adviser Tuesday defended US President Donald Trump’s silence on an explosion at a mosque in Minnesota, saying the blast could be a fake hate crime “propagated by the left.”
When asked on MSNBC why Trump had not commented on the incident which took place on Saturday, Sebastian Gorka said the president wanted to learn more about the event before he made a statement.
“When we have some kind of finalized investigation, absolutely,” Gorka said when asked whether Trump would comment on the incident at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington.
He went on to suggest that the attack could have been a “fake” hate crime.
“There’s a great rule: All initial reports are false,″ Gorka said. “You have to check them and find out who the perpetrators are. We’ve had a series of crimes committed, alleged hate crimes, by right-wing individuals in the last six months, that turned out to actually have been propagated by the left.
“So, let’s wait and see,” he said. “Let’s allow the local authorities to provide their assessment, and then the White House will make its comments.”
MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle said that Trump could denounce the mosque attack without commenting on the perpetrator.
“You don’t have to make a statement about who did it, but you can make a public statement denouncing how terrible it would be to attack a building of worship,” she told Gorka.
“That’s fine, and I’m sure the president will do that,” he replied.
He also said: “People fake hate crimes… The question of who does it is a question, when you’ve had people fake hate crimes with some regularity in the last six months.”
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton declared the incident a “a criminal act of terrorism” when he visited the center on Sunday.
There were no injuries in the blast that took place at 5 a.m. local time on Saturday morning.


Pakistan launches anti-polio drive as COVID-19 cases decline

Updated 1 min 58 sec ago

Pakistan launches anti-polio drive as COVID-19 cases decline

  • Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries in the world where polio is still endemic
  • Pakistan has reported about 100 new polio cases from various parts of the country since Jan.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani health officials on Saturday launched a seven-day vaccination campaign against polio as part of efforts aimed at eliminating the crippling disease amid a steady decline in fatalities and infections from the coronavirus, which had recently overwhelmed the country’s fragile health system.
The anti-polio campaign, which began amid tight security, aims to vaccinate as many as 34 million children across Pakistan, including former Taliban strongholds bordering Afghanistan, a government statement said.
Medical workers participating in the drive against polio were seen adhering to social distancing regulations as they wore face masks and gloves while going house-to-house to avoid a spike in coronavirus cases.
“I am hopeful that parents will continue to realize the importance of vaccinating their children during this campaign,” said Faisal Sultan, an adviser to the prime minister on health issues.
According to Rana Safdar, who heads the government’s polio program, similar campaigns against polio will be launched in October, November and December.
Earlier Saturday, Pakistan’s military said Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, praised Islamabad’s success in the fight against coronavirus in a telephone call to the country’s army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. It said Gates also discussed the resumption of the drive against polio.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries in the world where polio — a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the polio virus — is still endemic. The nonprofit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped Pakistan and other places worldwide fight the disease.
Pakistan had hoped to eliminate the disease by 2018, when only 12 cases were reported. But there was a surge in new cases the following year. Since January, Pakistan has reported about 100 new polio cases from various parts of the country, including the northwestern region bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistani Taliban and other militants regularly stage attacks on polio teams and security forces escorting them because they claim the anti-polio drive is part of an alleged Western conspiracy to sterilize children or collect intelligence. Attacks on polio teams increased after it was revealed that a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign was used as a ruse by the CIA in the hunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed by US commandos in 2011 in Pakistan.
Pakistan halted the drive against polio in March and resumed it last month amid a decline in infections and fatalities from COVID-19.
On Saturday, Pakistan reported only 9 new deaths from the new virus in the past 24 hours, increasing the country’s total of COVID-19 deaths to 6,162. So far, Pakistan has reported 288,047 cases and officials say about 93% of the patients recovered since February, when the country reported its first confirmed case.