Obama condemns blight of racism in society: Charleston shootings 


June 20, South Carolina: US president Barack Obama said that racicm remain a blight in the society. He said, in the wake of the killing of nine African-Americans in a South Carolina church, that the apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a disease that we have to combat together.

Police are treating the killings at the church in Charleston on Wednesday night as a hate crime. Earlier, Dylann Roof, 21, appeared in court to face nine murder charges.

Obama showed no emotion as relatives of the victims addressed him directly. “I forgive you” said one victim’s daughter, fighting back tears.

Speaking in San Francisco, Obama said that, “We have made great progress, but we have to be vigilant because it still lingers.

“And when it’s poisoning the minds of young people, it betrays our ideals and tears our democracy apart.” But the president praised the families of the victims for the forgiveness they had shown.

He said it was “an expression of faith that is unimaginable but that reflects the goodness of the American people”.

Meanwhile, a friend of Dylann Roof, the man charged over this week’s shooting in a church in South Carolina, has told BBC News that the suspect had told him a week earlier he wanted to attack a local university.

Christon Scriven, 21, told the BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan that Mr Roof “wanted to shoot that school up – UCA university of Charleston – it’s 3 miles up the street from that church.”

Scriven said Dylann Roof “had no intention of harming those people in that church”. He also said that he had “never said anything racist, never treated me any different”.

The Oslo Times and Agencies

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