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Russian Psychiatric Hospital Fire Kills 38



MOSCOW – At least 38 people have died in a fire that broke out early Friday at a psychiatric hospital outside of Moscow.

The death toll may rise further as many are still believed to be in the one-story facility in Ramenye, 120 kilometers north of Moscow.

According to preliminary reports, 36 patients and two medical personnel died in the blaze.

36 bodies recovered after last fire at Moscow region psychiatric #clinic, 2 people are unaccounted for bit.ly/YYbdhH #news #Russia

— The Voice of Russia (@VoiceofRussia) April 26, 2013

“Three people survived - a medical nurse led two patients out of the burning building,” the press secretary of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation Oleg Salagaev told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.

Russian newspaper Kommersant reports that it took firefighters more than an hour to reach the hospital, because of a closed ferry connection.

RIA Novosti quoted police officials as saying the blaze was probably caused by a short circuit, although violation of fire safety regulations and arson have not been ruled out so far.

Friday's fire recalls a 2009 blaze in a nursing home in Komi republic in northwestern Russia that killed 23 people, The Moscow Times recalls.

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Turkey: The Blind Spot Between Racial And Religious Discrimination

Before the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war, a social media campaign in Turkey aimed to take on anti-Arab and anti-refugee sentiment. But the campaign ultimately just swapped one type of discrimination for another.

photo of inside Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque

Muslims and tourists visiting Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque.

Levent Gültekin


ISTANBUL — In late September, several pro-government journalists in Turkey promoted a social media campaign centered around a video against those in the country who are considered anti-Arab. The campaign was built around the idea of being “siblings in religion,” and the “union of the ummah,” or global Muslim community.

(In a very different context, such sentiments were repeated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Israel-Hamas war erupted.)

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While the goal is understandable, these themes are highly disconnected from reality.

First, let's look at the goal of the campaign. Our country has a serious problem of irregular migrants and refugees, and the administration isn’t paying adequate attention to this. On the contrary, they encourage the flow of refugees with policies such as selling citizenship.

Worries about irregular migrants and refugees naturally create tension in the society. The anger that targets not the government but the refugees has come to a point which both threatens the social peace and brought the issue to hostility towards the Arabs, even the tourists. The actual goal of this campaign by the pro-government journalists is obvious if you consider how an anti-tourist movement would hurt Turkey’s economy.

However, as mentioned above, while the goal is understandable, the themes of the “union of the ummah” and “siblings in religion” are problematic. The campaign offers the idea of being siblings in religion as an argument against the rising racism towards irregular migrants and refugees; a different form of racism or discrimination.

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