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New Zealand Mosque Attack - History

New Zealand Mosque Attack - History


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On Friday March 15th, 49 People were killed when gunmen attacked two mosques in Chirstchurch, New Zealand. The main attacker was white Australian The gunmen released a racist manifisto before beginning the shooting.


On Friday, March 15th in the middle of Friday prayers and a gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch New Zealand and started firing. In a matter of moments, he had killed 41 people. He then drove to the Linwood Mosque where he killed another seven people. Twenty additional people were wounded.

The gunman who was Australian posted a racist rant against Muslims before beginning the bombing. He live streamed the killing on Facebook. He reportedly said on the video “There wasn’t even time to aim, there was so many targets,”


New Zealand marks two years since Christchurch mosque killings

Several hundred gathered at the Christchurch Arena for the remembrance service, which was also livestreamed.

New Zealand has marked the second anniversary of one of its most traumatic days, when 51 worshippers were killed at two Christchurch mosques by a white supremacist gunman.

Several hundred people gathered at the Christchurch Arena on Saturday for the remembrance service, which was also livestreamed.

Kiran Munir, whose husband Haroon Mahmood was killed in the attacks, told the crowd she had lost the love of her life and her soulmate.

She said her husband was a loving father of their two children. He had just finished a doctoral degree and was looking forward to his graduation ceremony when she last saw his smiling face.

“Little did I know that the next time I would see him the body and soul would not be together,” she said. “Little did I know that the darkest day in New Zealand’s history had dawned. That day my heart broke into a thousand pieces, just like the hearts of the 50 other families.”

In the March 15, 2019, attacks, Australian Brenton Tarrant killed 44 people at the Al Noor mosque during Friday prayers before driving to the Linwood mosque, where he killed seven more.

Last year Tarrant, 30, pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism, He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

After the attacks, New Zealand quickly passed new laws banning the deadliest types of semiautomatic weapons.

In the March 15, 2019, attacks, Australian Brenton Tarrant killed 44 people at the Al Noor mosque during Friday prayers before driving to the Linwood mosque, where he killed seven more [Sanka Vidanagama/AFP] Temel Atacocugu, who survived being shot nine times during the attack on the Al Noor mosque, said the slaughter was caused by racism and ignorance.

“They were attacks on all of humanity,” he said, adding that the survivors would never be able to erase the pain in their hearts. “However, the future is in our hands. We will go on and we will be positive together.”

Atacocugu wept as he recalled waiting to be treated with the father of three-year-old Mucaad Ibrahim when they learned the toddler had died.

“Suddenly, my pain seemed insignificant,” he said.

During the service, the names of each of the 51 people killed were read out. The efforts of first responders, including police and medics, were also acknowledged.

Maha Elmadani, who lost her 66-year-old father Ali Mah’d Elmadani in the attacks, spoke at the service on behalf of the affected Muslim youth.

“The pain of losing these 51 lives not only impacted the people of Christchurch, the pain ripped through New Zealand and the rest of the world and continues to be felt,” Elmadani said.

A woman leaves after attending a national remembrance service in Christchurch [Sanka Vidanagama/AFP] Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told the crowd that when preparing her speech, she had been at a loss for what to say because words would never change what happened.

“But while words cannot perform miracles, they do have the power to heal,” she said. “There will be an unquestionable legacy from March 15. Much of it will be heartbreaking. But it is never too early or too late for the legacy to be a more inclusive nation.”

Ardern, who was widely praised for the compassion shown to survivors and the families of the victims of the shooting and her swift move to tighten firearms control in New Zealand, said words “despite their healing power” would never change what happened.

“Men, women and children … were taken in an act of terror. Words will not remove the fear that descended over the Muslim community,” she said, adding the legacy should be “a more inclusive nation, one that stands proud of our diversity and embraces it and, if called to, defend it staunchly.”


Film about New Zealand mosque shootings that focuses on PM Jacinda Ardern faces boycott & accusations of ‘white saviorism’

The film, titled &lsquoThey Are Us&rsquo, is set in March 2019, in the days following the deadly attack on two mosques carried out by white supremacist Brenton Tarrant. The convicted terrorist killed 51 people in the attack, making it the bloodiest mass shooting in New Zealand&rsquos history.

But the script&rsquos protagonist isn&rsquot a first responder or survivor of the tragedy. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film will primarily revolve around Ardern, showing how the prime minister rallied the nation, and pushed through an assault rifle ban, following the horrific shootings. The title of the movie is inspired by a speech that the prime minister gave in response to the attack. Ardern will be played by Australian actress Rose Byrne.

Glen Basner of FilmNation Entertainment, which will be looking for international backers for the film at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, said that the script tells an &ldquoinspiring story&rdquo about how &ldquoa strong leader&rdquo can change lives when they &ldquowork from a place of compassion, love and an unwavering conviction to do what is right.&rdquo

But film&rsquos subject matter was met with disbelief and anger by members of Christchurch&rsquos Muslim community.

Tony Green, a member of one of the Christchurch mosques that was attacked​ who acted as a media spokesperson for the Muslim community following the shootings, said that he and others were &ldquoblindsided&rdquo by news about the film&rsquos production.

The sister of one of the victim&rsquos of the shootings told New Zealand media that she learned about the film on Twitter, adding that &ldquoit seems like it&rsquos just capitalizing&rdquo on the tragedy. She said that she doesn&rsquot think that the movie will be well received in New Zealand.

The Christchurch Muslim Association echoed similar concerns.

&ldquoThere are still many sensitivities around the tragic events of March 15 and although recognition of our prime minister for her response to attacks is well deserved, we question the timing and whether a movie is appropriate right now,&rdquo spokesperson Abdigani Ali​ said.

The controversial film caused many New Zealanders to vent their anger online, prompting the hashtag &lsquo#TheyAreUsShutdown&rsquo to trend in the country. Within hours, a petition was created that called on Ardern to &ldquostrongly denounce the film&rdquo and reassure the public that the government is not supporting its production.

Pals in film & media - please do your part for #TheyAreUsShutDown. No excuses for supporting a Hollywood film that is not from community & uses the horrors of The ChCh Mosque attacks as a backdrop for Rose Byrne’s character development. https://t.co/5EgSM6yquB

&mdash Kera O’Regan | on hiatus (@keraoregan) June 11, 2021

Observers on social media denounced the film as an example of &ldquowhite supremacy&rdquo and &ldquowhite saviorism.&rdquo

Here's my hot take on #TheyAreUsShutDown - I told you so (that white people would mobilise & weaponise #TheyAreUs to benefit their own white saviour/shero narratives, and in doing so, marginalise the f** outta us Kiwi Muslims). It was never about 'us'.

&mdash Hala (@_halansr) June 11, 2021

Shifting the focus away from white terrorism to white saviorism.

&mdash Gentle-Pig (@tomobosa) June 11, 2021

The New Zealand producer behind the film, Philippa Campbell, insisted that the script &ldquoillustrates the reality that there were a host of heroes during that week, including the PM, members of the two mosques and citizens of Christchurch.&rdquo

The furor over the planned film prompted Ardern to issue a statement making it clear that she had nothing to do with its production. &ldquoThe prime minister and the government have no involvement in the film,&rdquo a spokesperson for the New Zealand leader said.

The film&rsquos producers are still pushing ahead with the project, but have said they will consider donating profits to survivors and efforts to combat terrorism.


Worst Mass Shooting In NZ History: 49 Dead In Livestreamed New Zealand Mosque Attack

The death toll in the Christchurch mosque attacks now stands at 49 people and dozens injured in the worst mass shooting in New Zealand history. The deadliest attack was on the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1:45 p.m., where 41 of the 49 people were killed.

Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror. –Bloomberg

At least 48 patients with gunshot wounds were being treated at Christchurch Hospital.

A male in his 20s has been charged with murder and will appear in court tomorrow, while police found two explosive devices found one of the perpetrators’ vehicles – one of which was deactivated, and the other was being worked on by the New Zealand Defense Forces.

In addition to posting his plan on social media, the gunman livestreamed his attack as he drove to one of the mosques and walked inside, shooting people as they ran.

Still image of gunman from livestreamed video

Four people were taken into custody in connection with the attack who held extremist views, yet were not on any police watchlists three men and a women – however just the one of them has been charged in the massacres.

Australian media reports have named 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant as the shooter. He published a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto prior to the attack explaining who he is and why he conducted the attack – saying he was inspired by Norwegian shooter Anders Breivik.

The manifesto, posted online, features a series of questions and answers, and opens with one asking: “Who are you?”

The answer says: “Just a ordinary White man, 28 years old. Born in Australia to a working class, low income family.

“My parents are of Scottish, Irish and English stock. I had a regular childhood, without any great issues. I had little interest in education during my schooling, barely achieving a passing grade.”

He adds: “I am just a regular White man, from a regular family. Who decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people.”

He describes himself as “a private and mostly introverted person” and admits he is racist, adding that he is an “Eco-fascist by nature”.

He said New Zealand was not the original choice for an attack, saying he only came to the country temporarily to plan and train.

On his planning for the attack, he wrote: “I begun planning an attack roughly two years in advance and an attack at the location in Christchurch three months in advance.”

Answering whether he supports Brexit, he wrote: “Yes, though not for an official policy made. The truth is that eventually people must face the fact that it wasn’t a damn thing to do with the economy.

“That it was the British people firing back at mass immigration, cultural displacement and globalism, and that’s a great and wonderful thing.”

On whether or not he is a supporter of US president Donald Trump, he wrote: “As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.” –Independent.ie

Update6: Four people are in custody following shootings at two New Zealand mosques three men and a woman. According to the New Zealand police commissioner, “There were a number of IEDs attached to vehicles that we stopped.”

One of the gunmen is confirmed as 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant.

BREAKING

Four people are now in custody over the Christchurch mosque shootings, New Zealand Police have confirmed.

LATEST: https://t.co/vJps8GeLeD https://t.co/Qmzny6tj8l

— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) March 15, 2019

BREAKING: New Zealand police commissioner says four people in custody after mosque shooting attacks. https://t.co/kGNd1pwrjM pic.twitter.com/okNySP8hzs

— ABC News (@ABC) March 15, 2019

Update5: Prime Mininster Jacinda Ardern said that it is “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” following the shootings.

New Zealand PM Ardern: “Many of those who will have been directly affected by the shooting may be migrants to New Zealand…they have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.” pic.twitter.com/R13wr38epR

— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 15, 2019

Update4: A photo of the shooter who livestreamed:

Update3: Now there are reports of three possible shooters at two locations, with one in custody.

BREAKING: New Zealand Police reporting the possibility of three active shooters in the Christchurch mosque attacks

— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) March 15, 2019

New Zealand police have asked all mosques in the country to “shut their doors” until further notice, per BNO News.

WATCH: New Zealand police confirm shooting with multiple fatalities at 2 mosques in Christchurch https://t.co/FOQkhmN31k pic.twitter.com/be1uC3CPP2

— BNO News (@BNONews) March 15, 2019

According to a manifesto posted to social media before the shooting, he wanted to lead the Untied States to civil war by escalating political and cultural tensions.

The shooters manifesto says at one point that this incident is meant to lead the United States to civil war by escalating political and cultural tensions pic.twitter.com/3XbNSFsVEn

— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) March 15, 2019

Update2: Radio NZ has confirmed two shootings, one at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park, and at the Linwood Masjid Mosque in the suburb of Linwood.

Update: According to AP, there has been a shooting at a second Christchurch mosque. No details were immediately available.

A gunman wielding an automatic rifle opened fire on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, approximately ten minutes after approximately 300 people began afternoon prayers.

At least nine people have been killed with dozens injured, while eyewitnesses report “there was blood everywhere,” according to Stuff.co.nz and Radio NZ.

Another eyewitness who declined to give his name said there were “bodies all over me,” adding that the gunman emptied at least two magazines into the crowd.

The shooter was described as “white skinned, blonde, quite short and wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest.” according to witness Ahmad Al-Mahmoud, 37, who broke a window in a door to escape from the mosque.

According to journalist Nick Monroe, the shooter – Twitter user “Brenton Tarrant” who joined in February posted his intention to shoot up the mosque on social media, then livestreamed the shooting.

THIS IS THE NEW ZEALAND SHOOTER’S TWITTER, https://t.co/AkFOPY2R7B https://t.co/VMffvtMcdQ

TWO DAYS BEFORE POSTING ON 8CHAN THEY POSTED THEIR WEAPONRY ON TWITTER

YOU CAN’T BAN 8CHAN FOR THIS
WITHOUT BANNING TWITTER pic.twitter.com/O5GzXEKolj

— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) March 15, 2019

Scrolled to the bottom of the shooter’s Twitter profile, it is approximately two days old IF you go by their tweets posted.

They signed up last month, in February. pic.twitter.com/pB2evSPl7i

— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) March 15, 2019

More from the shooters manifesto

Mentions Candace Owens by name pic.twitter.com/GY3hmpxzXr

— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) March 15, 2019

The gunman posted photos of his shooting gear on Twitter prior to the shooting.

Approximately 20 armed police are clearing buildings nearby, while all schools in the area have been placed into lockdown. No students will be released until the police “have advised us that the lockdown is over and it is safe to do so.”

In response to a serious ongoing incident we’re locking down number of central city buildings, including the Civic Offices and Central Library. https://t.co/tph8HFddm3

— ChCh City Council (@ChristchurchCC) March 15, 2019

Bangladesh team escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters. They ran back through Hagley Park back to the Oval. pic.twitter.com/VtkqSrljjV

— Mohammad Isam (@Isam84) March 15, 2019

Of note, gun ownership in New Zealand is categorized as “restrictive” – as civilians are not allowed to possess handguns, military-style semi-automatic weapons or fully automatic weapons without a permit and a relevant firearm license endorsement.


'Very soon and very raw'

Ms Ardern on Monday criticised the project as poorly timed and focused on the wrong subject.

"In my view, which is a personal view, it feels very soon and very raw for New Zealand," she told local media TVNZ.

"And while there are so many stories that should be told at some point, I don't consider mine to be one of them."

Ms Ardern had won widespread praise at the time for her sensitive and empathetic handling. The proposed title of the movie is from a speech she gave in the aftermath of the attack.

Members of the country's Muslim community have also criticised the film for pursuing a "white saviour" narrative by focusing on Ms Ardern rather than the victims.

You do not get to tell this story.

You do not get to turn this into a White Saviour narrative.

This pain is still fresh and real.

This is upsetting, obscene and grotesque. I am tired. https://t.co/WqyIbBWQ8p

&mdash Mohamed Hassan (@mohamedwashere) June 10, 2021

Aya Al-Umari, whose brother Hussein died in the attacks, said it was "not the story that should be told".

A petition from the National Islamic Youth Association asking for the movie to be cancelled has gathered almost 60,000 signatures, arguing the film would sideline "the victims and survivors and instead centres on the response of a white woman".

It also said the Muslim community had not been properly consulted about the project.

The mayor of Christchurch, where the attacks took place, said film crews would not be welcome in her city.

"I'm just so outraged that they even think that this is an appropriate thing to do," Lianne Dalziel told news outlet RNZ.

The movie is set to star Australia's Rose Byrne as the centre-left leader. The actress has not yet responded to calls for her to leave the project.

The attacker, Australian self-declared white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole - the first person in New Zealand's history to receive the sentence.

On 15 March, he opened fire on worshippers inside the Al Noor mosque, broadcasting the attack on Facebook Live via a headcam he was wearing.

He then drove to the Linwood Islamic Centre where he shot people outside and then shot at the windows.

His sentencing marked the first terrorism conviction in New Zealand's history. The massacre also prompted New Zealand to reform its gun laws.


Producer quits film based on New Zealand mosque attacks after backlashes

'They Are Us' was announced as an "inspirational story about the young leader's response to the tragic events". The premise of the film was the actions of the New Zealand government under the leadership of Jacinda Ardern after the Christchurch terrorist attack in which 51 Muslims died.

A petition to shut down the film received 60,000 signatures in three days. Many in New Zealand called the move 'exploitative', 'insensitive', and 'obscene'. Several influential New Zealanders, activists, and victims criticised the insensitivity behind making a film on the terrorist attack.

New Zealander Philippa Campbell on Monday said that she has listened to the concerns raised after the announcement of the film and agreed that the events of March 15, 2019, are too raw to be adapted into a film at this time. She added that she does not wish to be involved in a project causing such distress.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she was not an appropriate focus for a film. She added that there are many other stories that are worth telling from March 15, the day of the Mosque attack. She also said that the film feels "very soon and very raw" for New Zealand.

The film is slated to be written and directed by New Zealander Andrew Niccol. He hasn't commented on the ongoing backlash yet. Australian actress Rose Byrne is slated to play Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.


New Zealand Muslims object to mosque attack film while pain still raw

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Muslims objected on Friday to a plan for a film about the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings in which a gunman killed 51 people, saying the attack was still too raw for grieving families and their community.

The film, titled "They Are Us", will focus on the response by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the attacks on two mosques by a white supremacist on March 15, 2019, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The title is drawn from Ardern's words on that day. The 40-year-old leader's compassionate response to the attack united her shocked country and was praised globally.

"There are still many sensitivities around the tragic events," Abdigani Ali, spokesman for the Muslim Association of Canterbury said in a statement.

"Although recognition of our prime minister for her response to attacks is well deserved, we question the timing and whether a movie is appropriate right now? The terrorist attack is still raw for our community."

Ardern has distanced herself from the project with her office saying she and the government have no involvement with it.

Australian actress Rose Byrne is set to play Ardern in the film, the Hollywood Reporter said, and New Zealander Andrew Niccol would write and direct it.

"They Are Us" was not so much about the attack but the response to it, Niccol was quoted as telling the Hollywood Reporter, which described the film an "inspirational story about the young leader’s response to the tragic events".

But some Muslims questioned that focus.

"This is not an inspiring story," said Mohamed Hassan, a journalist and poet based in Auckland, said in a commentary broadcast on Radio New Zealand.

"It is a tragedy, one that must always be centred around the Muslim victims and their families. No one else."

#TheyAreUsShutDown was trending on Twitter in New Zealand.

Ali said he recognised the story of the shootings needed to be told but said it should be done so in an appropriate, authentic and sensitive way.

"There needs to be a lot of work done in New Zealand in terms of hate speech laws, recognising Islamophobia does exist in our society and the institutional prejudice within our government apparatus before a blockbuster film comes out stating that we’ve done a great job here in New Zealand," he said.


Mosque attack that left 49 dead was the worst mass killing in New Zealand’s history

A man reacts during a vigil Sunday at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand.

(Elias Rodriguez / Getty Images)

Mourners embrace at a vigil Sunday at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand.

(Elias Rodriguez / Getty Images)

Mourners share their grief at a memorial near the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

(Vincent Yu / Associated Press)

Dunedin residents leave flowers and messages at a local mosque in tribute to Christchurch victims.

(Dianne Manson / Getty Images)

Residents of Dunedin, New Zealand, pay tribute to those killed and injured in Christchurch.

(Dianne Manson / Getty Images)

Mourners pay their respects at Hagley College after the attacks in Christchurch.

(Michael Bradley / AFP/Getty Images)

Residents pay respects to the victims of the mosque attacks in Christchurch.

(Tessa Burrows / AFP/Getty Images)

A woman whose husband was killed in Friday’s mass shootings in Christchurch mourns her loss Saturday.

(Vincent Thian / Associated Press)

A mourner lays flowers outside the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch.

(Fiona Goodall / Getty Images)

Flowers accumulate at a street memorial for the victims of the mosque attacks in Christchurch.

(Dianne Manson / Getty Images)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, right, speaks with a representative of the Canterbury Refugee Center in Christchurch.

(Marty Melville / AFP/Getty Images)

Flags fly at half staff on the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia.

(James Gourley / Getty Images)

Men gather after laying flowers for the victims outside one of the Christchurch mosques.

(Dianne Manson / Getty Images)

Police stand outside a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers.

(Mark Baker / Associated Press)

People in front of the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, awaiting word on victims.

(Kai Schwoerer / Getty Images)

Police cordon off the area in front of the Al Noor Mosque after the shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

(Tessa Burrows / AFP/Getty Images)

A man speaks on a cellphone outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, after a shooting there.

(Mark Baker / Associated Press)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a news conference in Wellington, New Zealand, after the mosque attacks Friday.

(Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images)

This image taken from the suspected shooter’s video, which was filmed Friday, shows a gun in his vehicle.

This image taken from the suspected shooter’s video, which was filmed Friday, shows him as he drives.

Medical workers remove an injured man from the scene of one of the mosque shootings in central Christchurch.

(Mark Baker / Associated Press)

A body lies on a sidewalk outside a mosque in central Christchurch.

(Mark Baker / Associated Press)

A man rests on the ground as he speaks on his mobile phone across the road from one of the targeted mosques.

(Mark Baker / Associated Press)

Hamzah Noor Yahaya, a survivor of the shootings at Masjid al Noor mosque, stands in front of Christchurch Hospital at the end of a lockdown Friday.

(Kai Schwoerer / Getty Images)

Armed police maintain a presence outside the Masijd Ayesha Mosque in Auckland, New Zealand.

(Phil Walter / Getty Images)

The New Zealand national flag is flown at half-staff on a Parliament building in Wellington after a mass shooting in Christchurch left 49 people dead.

(Marty Melville / AFP/Getty Images)

A police officer patrols at a cordon near a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand.

(Mark Baker / Associated Press)

Worshipers pray for victims of the New Zealand shootings at a Friday evening vigil at the Lakemba Mosque in New South Wales, Australia.

People wait for news outside a mosque in central Christchurch after the shootings.

(Mark Baker / Associated Press)

Flowers are placed on the front steps of the Wellington Masjid mosque in Kilbirnie in Wellington after a shooting incident at two mosques in Christchurch.

(Marty Melville / AFP/Getty Images)

The Chiefs and Hurricanes observe a moment of silence Friday before a Super Rugby match at FMG Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand.

(Michael Bradley / Getty Images)

Abdirisak Sheikh left Somalia eight years ago to move to New Zealand. “We were thinking it was a safe country,” the 28-year-old said.

During Friday prayers, he was surrounded by dozens of worshipers at a mosque in Christchurch. He looked through a window and saw a figure outside dressed in military-style gear, and he watched as the man in all black shot another person.

Then the gunman came through the main doors of the Linwood mosque, spraying bullets into congregants praying at the back and sending others fleeing to the front. Those who had been in the back piled onto congregants in the front, probably saving their lives, said Sheikh.

“They fell into us,” said Sheikh, who escaped unharmed. “It was so sad.”

A terrorist attack, apparently fueled by white supremacy and a loathing for immigrants, left 49 people dead, scores wounded and a nation trying to come to grips with the worst mass killing in New Zealand history. The gunman had livestreamed the slaughter, apparently from a helmet-cam, on Facebook.

An Australian suspect identified as Brenton Tarrant was charged with murder Saturday in this nation where police rarely carry firearms. Two other suspects were in custody police were trying to determine what role they may have played in the slaughter.

“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said late Friday after the attacks.

She noted that many of the victims were migrants or refugees. The dead, wounded or missing included Bangladeshis, Jordanians, Pakistanis, Indians, Indonesians, Afghans and Turks, according to officials from those countries.

New Zealand’s police commissioner and eyewitnesses discuss the deadly mass shootings at multiple mosques Friday in Christchurch.

“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” the prime minister said. She said the suspect’s extremist views “have absolutely no place in New Zealand.”

A jumbled, 74-page manifesto was posted on social media under Tarrant’s name, in which the writer identified himself as a 28-year-old white supremacist out to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims. The manifesto said the former personal trainer — an “ordinary white man” from a “low income family” — had come to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack.

The gunman livestreamed 17 minutes of his rampage at Al Noor Mosque, where he sprayed worshipers with bullets over and over, killing at least 41 people. Several more people were killed in the attack on the Linwood mosque a short time later.

Authorities warned that the death toll could rise because many of the other 48 people wounded in the attacks were in grave condition.

Officials were urging mosques to remain closed on Saturday. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush issued a plea late Friday directed at the nation’s Muslims: “I want to ask anyone that was thinking of going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand today, not to go, to close your doors until you hear from us again.”

World leaders condemned the attacks and offered condolences. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and others pointed to the bloodbath and other such attacks as evidence of rising hostility toward Muslims.

“I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where Islam & 1.3 bn Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim,” Khan tweeted.

President Trump said on Twitter that he had spoken with Ardern, offering solidarity and assistance. “We love you New Zealand!” he tweeted.

Trump has drawn criticism for demonizing migrants and for saying that there were “fine people on both sides” of a 2017 white nationalist march in Virginia that turned deadly.

When Trump was asked by reporters Friday whether he considered white supremacy a “rising threat,” he said: “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”

Ardern told reporters, “I said to Donald Trump that New Zealand needed sympathy and love for all Muslim communities,” according to the New Zealand Herald.

My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!

&mdash Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2019

New Zealand is generally considered to be welcoming to immigrants.

In the wake of the slaughter, the prime minister said that immigrants and refugees “have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.”

Last year, New Zealand announced it would boost its annual refugee quota from 1,000 to 1,500 in 2020. Ardern, whose party campaigned on a promise to take in more refugees, called it “the right thing to do.”

At the Al Noor mosque, witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black and wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top enter the house of worship and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running out in terror.

Peneha, who lives next door, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semiautomatic weapon in his driveway and fled. Peneha went into the mosque to help the victims.

“I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque,” he said. “I don’t understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It’s ridiculous.”

Facebook, Twitter and Google scrambled to take down the gunman’s video, which was widely available on social media for hours after the horrific attack.

The companies have faced criticism since the massacre. “Social media companies have avoided any real confrontation with the fact that their product is toxic and out of control,” said Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami law professor and president of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative.

In the video, the killer spends more than two minutes inside the mosque spraying terrified worshipers with gunfire. He then walks outside, where he shoots at people on the sidewalk. Children’s screams can be heard in the distance as he returns to his car to get another rifle. He walks back into the mosque, where there are at least two dozen people lying on the ground.

The footage showed the killer was carrying a shotgun and two fully automatic military assault rifles, with an extra magazine taped to one of the weapons so that he could reload quickly. He also had more assault weapons in the trunk of his car, along with what appeared to be explosives.

After going back outside and shooting a woman, he gets back in his car, where the song “Fire” by the English rock band the Crazy World of Arthur Brown can be heard blasting. The singer bellows, “I am the god of hellfire!” and the gunman drives off.


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"There is a realistic possibility that the terrorist's actions could inspire another white identity extremist attack in New Zealand," says Rebecca Kitteridge, Director-General of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).

Minister Responsible for the NZSIS Andrew Little says there's "no guarantee" an attack wouldn't happen again.

"We just have to be alert to this possibility and take every step that we can," he says.

It's an idea that's echoed by a terrorism expert.

"Mass casualty events like the Christchurch attacks inspire a lot of people," says Dr Chris Wilson, Auckland University terrorism expert. "The mass casualty events set off contagion events that can last for years."

"So something like the Columbine School shootings set off about 500 attacks that people tried to imitate those shootings," Dr Wilson adds.

The hui also heard the greatest risk right now is individuals operating alone and interacting with like-minded people online.

"It's incredibly difficult. Well, it's impossible for the security services to say they can prevent every single planned attack," Dr Wilson says.

Police agree, but conversations like these go a long way.

"These are really complicated issues. You've got the public's trust, the public's anxiety, the hurt and pain after 15th March," says Police national security advisor Cameron Bayly.

And now, the job of countering terrorism is on all of us.

"There are 10,000 police officers about [and] 4000 staff that can gather a lot of information, but there are 5 million people in New Zealand and our partners across the globe and you're only as good as that network," Bayly says.

While the hui helped the conversation around terrorism in New Zealand, some attending said its approach isn't the right one - a lack of Muslim speakers raised eyebrows.

Little was on the back foot when asked about it.

"I don't know why they don't specifically appear as panellists or speakers in the programme," he says.

People both within and outside of the Muslim community were upset.

"The same institutions that failed and have been targeting Muslims for the past 20 years are now somehow going to deliver us a strategy that's going to protect the Muslim community," says Christchurch resident Valerie Morse.

But for many, the hui was welcomed.

"There is more to do, but as I said, this is the best way to know what exactly is lacking and what is to be done," says Ahmed Jahangir, who was injured at the Linwood mosque.

"Victim-centred approach is quite important but also taking the whole New Zealand context into it, there's a long way to go," adds National Islamic Youth Association co-chair Haris Murtaza.


After 50 killed in mass shootings at 2 New Zealand mosques, prime minister vows, 'our gun laws will change'

The prime minister categorized the shootings as a terrorist attack.

49 killed in terror attack at New Zealand mosques

After 50 people were gunned down in terrorist attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, the prime minister is vowing to change gun laws.

At least one gunman carried out what is now the deadliest shooting in New Zealand history.

Forty-two others were injured, including two critically, in what became "one of New Zealand's darkest days," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Ardern said Saturday, "While the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers."

She vowed that “while work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: Our gun laws will change.”

A gunman appeared to have livestreamed video of the shooting on social media, according to New Zealand police. He documented his trip from his car and into the worship center in central Christchurch, where he opened fire indiscriminately, police said.

Officials said they were working to remove "extremely distressing footage" taken at the scene and urged social media users not to share it.

Meanwhile, Sky Network Television -- New Zealand’s largest satellite television provider -- announced late Friday that it was removing Sky News Australia from its platform after the broadcaster apparently aired video of the attack.

“We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platform until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday’s events will not be shared,” Sky Network officials said in a tweet.

Three in custody

Three people are in custody, including one Australian citizen. Brenton Tarrant, 28, was charged with murder and appeared in court Saturday, officials said.

Authorities also said that the murder suspect will be facing more charges.

“While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid," New Zealand police officials tweeted from the department's verified account.

"Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Five guns were used by the main suspect, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns, the prime minister said at a news conference Saturday. The suspect had a gun license, she added.

Police have not said if the same gunman shot at both mosques.

“None of those apprehended had a criminal history either here or in Australia," and none were on any watch lists, Ardern said.

Late Friday night, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush told reporters that authorities are still "working through" the accounts of two additional people who were arrested as part of the investigation.

“As you know we apprehended four people . one was released quite early, a member of the public who just wanted to get their kids home but decided to take a firearm," Bush said. "There was another couple arrested at a cordon and we are currently working through whether or not those persons had any involvement in that incident. So when we know, we’ll be able to give you… but I don’t want to say anything until we’re sure.”

Bush said that local authorities responded "immediately" to the reports of gunfire, and that within 36 minutes of the first shot being fired, the primary suspect was taken into custody.

“That person was not willing to be arrested, I think you’ve probably seen some of that live video, there was live audio coming back to my command center in Wellington, of that apprehension and I can tell you as I was listening to that –- that person was non-compliant," Bush said.

"We also believe that there were IEDs in that vehicle so it was a very dangerous maneuver," he said, referring to improvised explosive devices. "There were also firearms in that vehicle, so our staff, who were well-equipped, did engage with that person, and again put themselves in real danger to keep the community safe.”

Bush vowed that local authorities "will be highly vigilant [and] highly present, to ensure that if there is anyone out here wanting to commit harm we can intervene.”

Earlier, Bush said that the island nation is “dedicating all available resources to our response, not only in Christchurch but right across the country.”

“This attack has been an enormous shock for all New Zealanders, and I am aware that there is a real sense of fear and concern for personal safety, particularly among our Muslim communities,” Bush said in a statement.

He said that there is a heightened police presence nationwide, particularly at mosques and community events, and urged residents to immediately report anything suspicious to local authorities.

Hospital overwhelmed

Four of the 50 people killed in the massacre died on the way to the hospital, said Greg Robertson, chief of surgery at Christchurch Hospital.

“It's unusual for surgeons in this part of the world to deal with gunshot wounds,” Robertson told reporters. “We've had experience overseas dealing with trauma. We also get experience in our own environment for a limited number of these events. But clearly we don't face the extreme load this incident put on us.”

The surgeon went on to tell reporters on Friday night that 36 patients remained hospitalized at the Christchurch facility – 11 of them in the intensive care unit. He said the severity of injuries range from soft tissue injuries to head trauma. A 4-year-old girl wounded in the attack had to be transferred to another hospital in critical condition.

'Shattered innocence'

Witnesses said the attack occurred just before 1:40 p.m. local time as the Sheikh gave a sermon in Christchurch.

"He just came in and he was shooting ad hoc," Ramzan Ali told The Associated Press.

Ali said he survived by hiding beneath a bench.

"I haven't seen him because I just lied down under the bench, thinking that if I get out, I'll get shot," he said. "I'm just keeping my fingers crossed so I could be alive."

He added: "I was the last guy to come out of the mosque after the shooting stopped and on the doors there were a lot of bodies."