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Parents of murdered backpackers slam Trump's terror list

The parent's comments came in after the White House circulated a list of 78 incidents saying they were 'executed or inspired by' the Islamic State group. (Representative image) Photograph: (Getty)

AFP Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Feb 08, 2017, 05.29 AM (IST)

The parents of the two backpackers killed in Australia slammed US President Donald Trump for including their death on a list of supposedly under-reported terrorist attacks

British backpackers Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, and Tom Jackson, 30, were stabbed to death last year. They were killed by Frenchman Smail Ayad at a backpacker hostel in Queensland. He had shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) during the attack. 

"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," Ayliffe said. The police had ruled out any terror links. 

Trump earlier this week had accused "dishonest" media of failing to report on attacks by radical Islamists, amid the controversial travel ban imposed on seven Muslim-majority countries. 

The White House later circulated a list of 78 incidents saying they were "executed or inspired by" the Islamic State group and that they did not get any media attention. 

Mia's mother, Rosie Ayliffe wrote an open letter to Donald Trump saying it was wrong to link her daughter's death with radical jihadists. 

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Rosie Ayliffe said, "any fool can shout Allahu Akbar as they commit a crime". When she travelled in Islamic countries, she said she "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."

Tom's father Les Jackson also hit back at Trump, saying "he and his advisors know full well--or could easily verify--that Tom and Mia died not as the result of an act of terror but rather through the actions of a disturbed individual."

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(WION with inputs from AFP)

 

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