Shooter Charged With Murder as New Zealand Mourns Massacre Victims

Tabitha Dunn
March 16, 2019

Malaysia said two of its citizens were hospitalized, and the Saudi Embassy in Wellington said two Saudis were wounded.

These nihilist, clash-of-civilisations narratives - whichever ideologies inform them - leave all nations more vulnerable to extremist violence.

In the aftermath, the country's threat level was raised from low to high, police warned Muslims against going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand, and the national airline cancelled several flights in and out of Christchurch, a city of almost 400,000.

Ihsaan Gardee said words matter and they embolden people to commit hateful acts. The inverse of this phenomenon is, of course, that it gives oxygen to the propaganda machine of radical fringe elements spreading hatred against the West and religious minorities in Muslim countries, thus perpetuating an unending cycle of hate. Before Friday's attack, the deadliest shooting in modern history occurred in the small town of Aramoana in 1990, when gunman David Gray shot and killed 13 people following a dispute with a neighbor. The antipathy towards Muslims, anti-immigration rhetoric and permissiveness towards hate speech (furthered by an absolutist interpretation of free speech and expression) has not only in several instances been codified in legislation but has also informed counter violent extremism policies.

Hundreds of angry protesters in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital, chanted "Allahu akbar!"

"We stand in solidarity with Muslims around the world in their shock, grief and outrage in the wake of these despicable attacks", said President Gertler, offering his condolences to U of T's Muslim community, and in particular the Muslim Students' Association.

"It is clear this is one of New Zealand's darkest days", Ardern said earlier Friday.

Authorities in both Australia and New Zealand have been asked to review why the suspect was not listed on any counter-terrorism watchlist, despite reportedly planning the attack for several years.

There will likely be additional charges, reported CBC News, but the police have yet to release details of what they may be.

"This is a time of distress, we are in disarray, we don't know why this has happened", he said.

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"They are us", she said. "I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. This is not New Zealand", she said in another statement, quoted by news agency ANI.

"We think also of our Cook Islands community in Christchurch and in New Zealand, with so many of our people who have made their homes there".

New Zealand has in the past tried to tighten firearm laws, but a strong gun lobby and culture of hunting has stymied such efforts.

Ibrahim said he managed to escape via the backdoor of the mosque: "Lots of people we were inside and there was a door on the right side for the ladies entrance section".

Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of London, said Londoners stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Christchurch.

"I felt some fear within community members, but it was comforting to see that the chief of police was here supporting us". Whatever colour you are, what background you are, who you are, what religion you are - I mean, who cares?

Ardern alluded at a news conference to anti-immigrant sentiment as the possible motive, saying that while many people affected by the shootings may be migrants or refugees, "they have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home".

At least 49 people were killed and more were injured.

Among the wounded, two were in a critical condition, including a four-year-old child, he said.

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