Forty-nine people were killed in attacks on two mosques in the Christchurch area of the country, after they were targeted in the early hours of this morning – early afternoon, New Zealand time.
Imam Ihsan Khan said: “These attacks are trying to stop people from carrying out their day-to-day lives, and their day-to-day worship.
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“We can counteract that by opening our doors. We can educate people, so they can inside the mosque and see that were not terrorists.
2:41 Jacinda Ardern says Christchurch mosque shootings were terrorist attack – video A man in his late 20s will appear in court in Christchurch on Saturday morning, charged with murder. Police did not name him or two other suspects who were being questioned, but Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian man, identified himself as being behind the attack.
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“People who carry out these attacks like the one in New Zealand this morning do not understand Islam.
The pair stopped to help the injured. There were lots of bodies and there was no sirens, no police or ambulance because this had just happened … It was a scene of carnage – we were there for a good 15 or 20 minutes, just civilians, helping these people as much as we could until more support came in, Pomare added.
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“Maybe they wont carry out such attacks in the future, if they see inside the mosque, and see that Muslims arent terrorists.
“Right now, we have this association given to us and until that has been removed we will not have a solution.
Carl Pomare and a colleague were driving past the mosque at the time of the attack. I saw lots of people running outside the mosque … In the next second there was rapid fire and people were being knocked down like tenpins. I saw them being hit from behind, I saw them falling to the ground, he told the BBC.
“We need to show people that religion and terrorism are not the same thing, and to remove the terrorist association from the religion.”
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The Imam invited people of all faiths and backgrounds to attend the mosques Friday prayers at 1pm, to show solidarity with the victims of the New Zealand attack.
Suspected gunman displayed white-supremacist symbols on ammunition during the deadly assault that left 49 people dead and dozens injured
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2:19 Mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques – video report Kevin Rawlinson (now), Elle Hunt, Matthew Weaver, Naaman Zhou and Kate Lyons (earlier)
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In the livestream broadcast on the Facebook page of Brenton Tarrant, he appears to be listening to a Serb nationalist song in his car on his way to the Christchurch mosques. The song is dedicated to the Bosnian Serb wartime leader, Radovan Karadžić, whose verdict on his appeal against conviction for genocide and crimes against humanity is due next Wednesday.
The organisation, Remembering Srebrenica, which memorialises the 1995 massacre of about 8,000 Muslim and boys, confirmed that the song being played is a nationalist anthem glorifying Karadžić with the lyrics: Wolves are on the move from Krajina [a Balkan region] Karadžić lead your Serbs, let them see they fear no one.
Anticipation and apprehension are building among Karadžićs supporters and victims in advance of next Wednesdays expected verdict at the Hague war crimes tribunal, which will be the final ruling after a decade of court proceedings.
In March 2016, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted Karadžić of genocide for the Srebrenica massacre and of crimes against humanity for mass killings, hostage-taking and terror.
Candace Owens, the American conservative commentator, has responded to a mention of her name in the gunmans manifesto. In a series of tweets, she said any depictions of her by media as the inspiration for the attack should be prepared for legal action.
Though the gunmans manifesto is being widely reported on and quoted from as insight into his background and actions, experts warn against taking it at face value when much of it – indeed, the mention of Owens name – might have been calculated.
He added: He shot the first one on the gate, two people in the corridor, and go inside started shooting everyone. One man was killed in front of his three children, Al-Nobani said.
Its a type of trolling, said Hope Not Hate researcher Patrik Hermansson. A thing they like to do to cause a lot of outrage – Candace Owens supports genocide – to force her acknowledge him and to get attention.
Robert Evans from Bellingcat added: It is possible, even likely, that the author was a fan of Owenss videos; she certainly espouses anti-immigrant rhetoric. But, in context, [it] seems likely that his references to Owens were calculated to spark division, and perhaps even violence, between the left and the right.
He claimed police took 20 minutes to arrive. We are in the middle of the city. The middle of Christchurch. There was no traffic about. You need two-minute [maximum] response.
Its about 7am on Saturday in New Zealand, and the gunman is due to appear in court this morning. If you are just waking up, here is what has happened overnight:
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Our main news story has been updated with the key developments of the day – you can read that here. I am now handing over to my colleague Kevin Rawlinson. Kia kaha, Aotearoa.
Read more At Al Noor mosque, Khaled Al-Nobani said a man entered with two rifles, one a pump-action [gun], and started shooting everyone – young people, old women.
There are coping strategies for dealing with terrorism and the feeling it is meant to induce, namely terror. One is to tell yourself, it wont happen to me. Following the massacre of 49 people at prayer in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, many non-Muslims might be saying to themselves, if only in a guilty whisper, I am not Muslim, Ill be OK. Another strategy is to tell yourself, it wont happen here. Thats hard, though, for if it can happen in a country that has long seen itself as a serene haven, distant from a turbulent world, then it can surely happen anywhere. And still others may fall back on that perennial reassurance: this was just one deranged individual.
Lianne Dalziel, Christchurchs mayor, said the attack had come as a bolt from the blue … It just feels like its not what would happen in a place like New Zealand.
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Waleed Aly, a prominent Australian journalist and practicing Muslim, has drawn attention for his emotional address on the current affairs programme that he co-hosts, The Project. Of all the things that I could say tonight – that I am gutted, that I am scared, and that I am filled with utter hopelessness – the most dishonest thing would be to say that I am shocked. Im simply not. … Everything we say to try to tear people apart, demonize particular groups, set them against each other, that all has consequences, even if we are not the ones with our fingers on the trigger.
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Youll have to forgive me, these wont be my best words…On this heartbreaking day, Waleed reflects and calls for unity. #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/mIOI0eGamb
We strongly condemn the dastardly terrorist attacks at the places of worship in Christchurch. Our heartfelt condolences to those who lost their loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families. /1
In the UK and the US, police stepped up patrols in areas with large Muslim populations and around places of worship in direct response to the attack.
In this moment of grief, India stands in solidarity with the people and Government of New Zealand @winstonpeters /2
The New York Police Departments Counterterrorism Bureau has asked that New Yorkers remain calm in the face of an increased counterterrorism presence outside mosques and religious institutions in the city. Photos posted to its official Twitter presence show groups of up to six armed police with dogs posted outside the Islamic Cultural Center of New York among other buildings.
Our Counterterrorism officers are deployed throughout the city at various mosques & religious institutions in response to the New Zealand terror attack.Please do not be alarmed of the increased presence. We are working closely w/ the community to keep you safe. pic.twitter.com/mGVrp83EPj
James P ONeill, New York City Police Department commissioner, said earlier that the department was deploying high-profile resources around our city to keep all worshippers, in every neighborhood, safe – and to keep them feeling safe, too: There is no place in our city & the world for hate, whatever form it may take, he added.
The people #NYPD serves, in every #NYC neighborhood, must always be free from fear & have the immutable right to worship & live in peace. Together, NYers will never allow terrorists — who thrive on violence & fear — to threaten our people or our values. My full statement, here:⬇️ pic.twitter.com/XQqOSUgr2n
Mulki Abdiwahab, an 18-year-old student at Lincoln University in Christchurch, has given a harrowing account of the massacre to Radio New Zealand. She had just finished praying in the women-only room of Al Noor Mosque with her mother, children and elderly when she heard gunshots.
I thought at first it must have been somebody banging on the window. My mum grabbed my hand and then we just we ran outside. Everyone was in chaos, just running for their lives. We just kept running, and running. The gunshots kept going on for about a good 10 minutes.
Abdiwahabs father was in the mens room at the time of the shooting; he was now receiving care in hospital, while she and her mother had sought refuge in a residents home.
She said she was confused as to why the shooting happened. It just never would have crossed my mind that any human being would ever want to hurt another human being, it is just really foreign to me. In a place that I felt safe … but now Im starting to question [that].
New Zealand shooting video shows moment Brenton Tarrant opened fire
The suspect in the attack on two mosques in Christchurch opened fire on worshippers using rifles covered in white-supremacist graffiti after listening to a song glorifying a Bosnian Serb war criminal.
The gunman, who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old born in Australia, streamed footage live on social media before and during the massacre. It showed him driving to the first mosque while listening to a song idolising Radovan Karadzic, who was jailed for genocide and other war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.
Two of the rifles used in the shooting referenced Ebba Akerlund, an 11-year-old girl who was killed in April 2017 when an Uzbek man, Rakhmat Akilov, rammed his truck into people in Stockholm.
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The name Charles Martel, who is hailed by white supremacists for defeating an invading Muslim force at the Battle of Tours in 732, was also displayed on weapons used in the attack.
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Nearly NZ $500,000 (£257,500) has already been raised for the victims of Christchurch terror attack. More than 7,400 people have now donated to the crowdfunding page on Givealittle, which was set up by the New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups, the countrys primary support provider for people affected by homicide.
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Another campaign, spearheaded by a coalition of New Zealand Islamic groups, has raised nearly NZ $350,000 (£180,000).
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The New Zealand website The Spinoff has compiled more ways in which to help grieving Muslim communities.
Londons Finsbury Park Mosque experienced its own tragedy in June 2017 when Darren Osborne drove into a crowd of worshippers standing on a pavement, killing Makram Ali and injuring nine others. Following news from New Zealand, there were feelings of shock, concern but also defiance among Muslim gathering for Friday prayers tonight.
Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian Its a very sad day, its inhumane taking innocent people, said Benyounes Msaad. When I saw the video of the attack it was depressing, I wish I didnt see it. A lot of people probably didnt come today.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Islington council leader Richard Watts visited the mosque after Fridays prayers to give their condolences.
Foreign ministries around the world are working to determine if – or how many – of their nationals have been killed or injured in the New Zealand attack. All information is the most recent avaiable from Associated Press, but are likely to change:
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Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad @chedetofficial on Christchurch shootings, which injured at least 2 Malaysians: The government will do everything possible to see that Malaysians there are safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of the shooting incident. pic.twitter.com/HdMIFXV6DS
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The in-joke-filled, irony-laden vocabulary of the far-right online communities that spawned the terror attack in Christchurch on Friday makes it extremely difficult to distinguish a sick joke from a deadly serious threat, according to experts on the international far right and online information warfare.
References to shitposting, YouTube stars and the 17th century Battle of Vienna are hallmarks of that online culture where everything can be a joke and extremist content can be a parody and deadly serious all on the same page, said Ben Nimmo, a researcher at the Atlantic Council. Distinguishing between the two is extremely difficult.
You have these communities who routinely practice extreme rhetoric as a joke, so its very easy to fit in if youre a real extremist.
It also leads to situations where mainstream observers unknowingly aid terrorists by spreading propaganda without recognising it for what it is.
The way we always have to look at manifestos like this: its a PR document, a propaganda document, thats meant to be analysed, exposed, read and thought about, said Patrik Hermansson, a researcher at Hope Not Hate. The more confusing it is, the more it might be spread.
Renaud Camus 2011 book The Great Replacement seems to have inspired the gunmans 74-page manifesto – it certainly served as the title for it. The French far-right polemicist has denounced the murders as terrorist, terrible, criminal, disastrous and imbecilic, but conceded the ethnic substitution that he argues is taking place in the west could encourage violence.
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Camus, 72, told Agence France-Presse that the gunman cannot claim to have acted according to my writings because I argue the opposite. If he wrote a brochure titled The Great Replacement its plagiarism, an abusive use of a phrase that is not his and that he plainly does not understand.
The essayist, whose theory that Europes white majority is being steadily replaced by non-white, often Muslim immigrants, is often advanced by far right and anti-immigration figures in France and elsewhere on the continent, was convicted in 2015 of incitement to hatred or violence against Muslims.
Camus told AFP was was absolutely non-violent. I utterly condemn these acts. He added, however, that what worries me most about what I call the great replacement is precisely the extent to which it could encourage violence, of all kinds, in everyday life but also – obviously – in acts of terrorism.
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It seemed to him that the gunman was more likely to have been inspired by the Islamist terror attacks carried out in France in the past four or five years, he said: I do not see what he should be more inspired by me than by acts that directly resemble those he carried out.
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There can be no place in our societies for the vile ideology that drives and incites hatred and fear. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of New Zealand. pic.twitter.com/vEE3vZRW0H
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Prime minister Theresa May has released a statement, confirming that she has been in touch with New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern over the horrifying terrorist attack:
To target Muslims as they were attending their place of worship is despicable. And our thoughts and prayers are with the people of New Zealand, with the families and friends of those who have died in these attacks and with all those who have been injured. The UK stands ready to support New Zealand however we can.
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Through terror attacks that have taken place on UK soil we know only too well the pain that such horrifying attacks can cause. As New Zealand has stood by us so we stand shoulder to shoulder with them, and with Muslims in New Zealand, here in the UK and around the world.
There can be no place in our societies for the vile ideology that drives and incites hatred and fear. Together we will defeat those who seek to destroy our values, our way of life and seek to divide us.
US President Donald Trumps extension of thoughts and prayers to New Zealand has been rejected by the national civil rights organisation, Muslim Advocates, as an inadequate response.
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Thoughts & prayers are not enough to respond to the #NewZealandShooting. It is time for concrete action. The President must disavow white nationalism & this attack.The FBI must prioritize hate violence.Tech companies must prevent the streaming/spreading of these videos. pic.twitter.com/HPPkw6kDSF
Executive director Farhana Khera highlighted the presidents own role in fanning the flames of Islamophobia across the world, with historic levels of hate crimes motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry in recent years.
In the wake of this heartbreaking, anti-Muslim mass slaughter, it is clear that more needs to be done to protect Muslims and all vulnerable communities from the very real dangers posed by hate and white nationalists. … It is not enough for President Trump to merely send thoughts and prayers. The President called neo-nazis and white nationalists very fine people. This hate-filled murderer drew inspiration from Trump, and the white nationalist movement has celebrated Trumps words and policies.
The US attorney-general, William P Barr, has issued this statement on behalf of the justice department in Washington, going notably further than the presidents own God bless all!:
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Violence on the basis of religion is evil. Todays attack in New Zealand is a sobering reminder that the threat of political and religious violence is real and that we must remain vigilant against it.
After the 7 July bombings in London in 2005, Dr HA Hellyer was appointed as deputy convenor of a UK government working group looking at precisely what factors led to people becoming swept up in extremism. Though there were other factors, the group found that ideas and ideology played a significant part:
we could not simply cast aside the importance of extremist discourse and dogma. … It would be wrong to minimise the extent to which ideas energised people, and provided their rationalisation for violent acts.
By the same token, it would be outrageous to fail to recognise that the unbridled, nativistic, anti-Muslim bigotry that has become so widespread in our societies has nothing to do with this attack in New Zealand.
Lecturer Dr Zurinawati Mohi was near the Malaysian-Korea border en route to Hatyai for work when she was alerted to the attack by a friend, she told the New Straits Times. Her husband, Mohd Nazri Hisham Omar, 46, has lived in Christchurch with three of their children, aged 17, 13 and 9, since January.
To get confirmation, I immediately called my husband and three children but my calls went unanswered. Not long after that, one of my kids sent me a WhatsApp message telling me their father was injured, she said.
Zurinawati, 48, said her husband was badly injured in the attack, though she did not know what his condition was in hospital. Our three children are safe but traumatised following what happened.
The Malaysian High Commission in Wellington has so far confirmed only one Malaysian citizen among those injured, but the number is expected to rise given the number of nations resident in Christchurch. The foreign ministry of Malaysia condemned in the strongest terms, this senseless act of terror on innocent civilians and called for those responsible for this barbaric crime be brought to justice.
Malaysia condemns in the strongest term, the senseless act of terror on innocent civilians and hopes that those responsible for this barbaric crime be brought to justice. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of todays shooting incident in New Zealand. pic.twitter.com/GKP4GJ2EQJ
Another Malaysian national, Mohd Tarmizi Shuib, has been identified as injured in the attack. A former classmate told The New Straits Times that Shib, a flight simulator operator, had been at the Al Noor mosque with his wife and two of his four children for Friday night prayers.
When the shooting began, the friend said, Mohd Tarmizi Shuib ran off with his son Hariz and was shot in the back. Hariz is safe, but 17-year-old Haziq is thought to still be unaccounted for. For now, we can only pray that all will be fine and hope Haziq is found safe, Shuibs sister, Zarina Shuib, 53, told the Malay Mail from her home in Hutan Kampung.
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Shuib had migrated to New Zealand about 18 months ago after his eldest daughter, 19, was offered a place to study at university there. He and his wife, an academic, had lived in the country once before for about three or four years, according to Zarina Shuib.