Mother of murdered British backpacker says claims alleged killer an Islamist are ‘nonsense’

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The mother of slain British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung has said she has no desire to meet her alleged killer, while decrying the nonsense in public discussion linking the tragedy to Islamic fundamentalism.

Rosie Ayliffe, writing for UK newspaper the Independent about her daughter’s death at an Australian backpackers’ hostel last week, said the alleged murderer, the French national Smail Ayad, had never set foot in a mosque.

Queensland police separately confirmed there was still no evidence that Ayad – who has also been charged with the attempted murder of Briton Tom Jackson in an alleged stabbing spree at the hostel in Home Hill, north Queensland – was even a practising Muslim.

Ayliffe said that much nonsense is being spoken in the press about [my daughter’s] alleged killer, who was not an Islamic fundamentalist, he has never set foot in a mosque.

The TV engineer who visited yesterday said, ‘Well we know what that was about, it was that Moslemic terrorism!’ Thanks for clarifying, she said.

Supt Ray Rohweder, of Queensland police, said it was unlikely that investigators would ever be able to rule out Ayad having attended a mosque but we certainly found nothing – no Koran, nothing of a religious nature – to suggest he was a practising Muslim.

You would think [if he were, there would be] a Koran or a prayer mat, or something like that, but there was nothing of that nature, Rohweder told the Guardian. We are conducting inquiries overseas but there is nothing to suggest he’s a practising Muslim.

Despite police ruling out extremist motives for the killing, the case was cited by some Australian politicians who called for restrictions on Muslim immigration. Continued speculation on social media worldwide about the significance of Ayad’s alleged cries of Allahu Akbar [God is greatest in Arabic], amid what French-speaking witnesses told investigators was incoherent speech, has been a source of ongoing frustration for police.

Ayliffe, who is writing a daily blog for the Independent while preparing to travel to Australia to collect her daughter’s ashes, noted that Ayad, who has also been charged with seriously assaulting 12 police officers after being taken into custody, had been prevented from appearing in Townsville magistrates court last Friday over public safety concerns.

She said she was unlikely to meet Ayad and she did not want to.

Ayliffe said there would be a place of remembrance in the UK for Mia, who was just days into an 88-day stint of casual farm labour – picking stones from between sugar cane rows – to extend her Australian working holiday visa.

But she decided to have her daughter’s body cremated in Australia and to give vials containing her ashes to her friends from around the world to scatter in places dear to her or to them. That way she can visit places she hasn’t visited yet.

I’m fully aware that her body is on a slab somewhere in a cold dark place, Ayliffe said. She wouldn’t mind the dark but she’s not good with the cold. I couldn’t bear for her to be kept like that for weeks and decided she needed to be cremated sooner rather than later.

An autopsy completed last Friday showed Ayliffe-Chung had died as a result of multiple stab wounds, police have said.

Jackson, an aspiring journalist who police have said received stab wounds to the eye, face and torso after coming to Ayliffe-Chung’s aid during the alleged attack, remains on life support in Townsville hospital.

His father, Les, who travelled to his bedside from the UK, said in a statement: There are many and varied reasons why we are, and always will be, immensely proud of Tom.

His actions in response to this horrific attack only add to that sense of pride.

Ayliffe wrote of the beginning of processing her grief at the death of her daughter, whom she hadn’t seen in almost a year: In my head she’s still alive, well and living in Australia, cracking jokes about throwing stones and setting up a stall to sell the rocks she’d picked up as part of her farm work.

At the moment the only way I can really cope with our loss is to think Mia’s time had come and what happened in that hostel on Tuesday was her fate. It was always going to happen like that.

She was lent to us for a period of time and now, in Ben Jonson’s words, she’s been ‘exacted by the Lord on the just day’. (I always struggled to teach that poem without welling up!)

But I also think that wise little girl was here for a reason and part of my journey will be to find out what that reason was.

The charges against Ayad are due to be heard in court again on 28 October.

News Source TheGuardianNews

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