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28-Year-Old White Supremacist Australian Man Kills 49 In New Zealand's Christchurch Mosques Massacre

Darpan News Desk IANS, 15 Mar, 2019
  • 28-Year-Old White Supremacist Australian Man Kills 49 In New Zealand's Christchurch Mosques Massacre

At least 49 people were killed when gunmen said to be whites opened indiscriminate fire at two mosques in Christchurch city on Friday in what a shocked New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said was a terror attack.

 

Calling the shootings "abhorrent", Christchurch Police Commissioner Mike Bush said 41 people were killed at the Al Noor Mosque near Hagley Park and seven at the Linwood Avenue Mosque. One person died in hospital, The New Zealand Herald reported.

 

Bush said one man in his late 20s had been charged with murder and the police had recovered a lot of firearms from both the Linwood Avenue and Al Noor Mosque shooting scenes.

 

Brenton Tarrant, 28, grew up in Grafton in the Northern River in the state's most north-easterly region. The self-proclaimed 'ordinary, white man' live-streamed shooting at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on Friday.

 

The terrorist's ranting online manifesto is filled with Neo-Nazi ideology and hatred for Muslim people. Tarrant 'worked as a personal trainer before travelling the world to North Korea and Pakistan as well as Europe'. One of his former acquaintances suspected the 28-year-old was radicalized in some way on his travels

 

The Christchurch Hospital said earlier that 48 people had suffered gunshot wounds.

 

Ardern called the killings "one of New Zealand's darkest days" and an "unprecedented" situation.

 
 
 
 
 
 

At least one of the killers was an Australian man. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the suspected attacker as an "extremist right-wing violent terrorist".

 

The Australian reportedly livestreamed shooting at Al Noor Mosque in a 17-minute video and wrote a manifesto declaring his intentions, saying "it is a terrorist attack", Commissioner Bush told the media.

 

BBC quoted witnesses as saying that they ran for their lives and saw people bleeding on the ground outside the Al Noor mosque.

 
 
 

The gunman targeted the men's prayer room in the mosque and then moved to the women's room.

 

"It is clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack. From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned. Two explosive devices attached to suspects' vehicles have been found and they have been disarmed," Prime Minister Ardern said.

 

Three men and a woman were arrested after the massacre, authorities said, adding that none of them were on any terrorism watch, including in Australia.

 

"These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world," Ardern said.

 
 

She said it was obvious the attacks had been planned for some time.

 

The police said there were also multiple improvised explosive devices attached to vehicles as part of the attack.

 

"This goes to the seriousness of the situation," Bush said.

 
 

The Bangladesh cricket team now touring New Zealand had a narrow escape as the entire team had gone to one of the mosques near Hagley Park for Friday prayers.

 

Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team had gone to the mosque by bus and were about to go inside when the incident took place.

 
 

The New Zealand-Bangladesh third Test match set to be played in Christchurch was axed.

 

The government advised people not to go to mosques until further notice. All Christchurch schools were shut down.

 
 

One man, Robert Weatherhead, told Newstalk that he took in people who escaped from the Al Noor mosque.

 

He described the gunman as "white, aged in his 30s or 40s and wearing a uniform".

 
 

Another witness, who was in the front row of devotees when the gunman came in, told the New Zealand Herald that the suspect first shot people outside, adding that he heard the gun being reloaded about three times.

 

"The gunman began shooting in all directions," the witness said.

 

A woman told the Christchurch Star she lay in her car near the mosque as four to five men came running towards her. Another man said he hid under a bench till the shooting stopped.

 
 
 
 

QuickQuotes: Canadian reactions to New Zealand mosque attacks

 
 

Canadians were quick to speak out against the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand that left at least 49 people dead. Here is a selection of quotes:

 

"Canada condemns this attack, and will continue to work closely with New Zealand, our close partner and friend, and others to take action against violent extremism. Hate has no place anywhere. We must all confront Islamophobia and work to create a world in which all people — no matter their faith, where they live, or where they were born — can feel safe and secure." — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

 
 
 
 
 
 

"Freedom has come under attack in New Zealand as peaceful worshippers are targeted in a despicable act of evil. All people must be able to practice their faith freely and without fear. There are no words strong enough to condemn this kind of vile hatred. I am praying for peace for the families of those lost and recovery for those injured." — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer

 
 
 
 

"Heartbroken by the devastating news of deadly shootings at two mosques in New Zealand. My heart goes out to the families of the murdered and all those impacted by this act of terror. Islamophobia kills — and has no place anywhere in the world." — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

 
 
 
 

"Like Quebec and Canada, New Zealand is a peaceful place where people want to live in safety and peace. We have recently experienced a tragedy that has affected everyone in Quebec. I feel totally in solidarity with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and I fully understand her emotion today. There is no room for extremism in our societies; there is no room for intolerance. We will not allow violence to take root in our democratic societies." — Quebec Premier Francois Legault

 
 
 
 

"I am devastated by the news of the despicable and cowardly shootings in New Zealand. Freedom of religion, peace and rule of law are pillars of democracy and the world we share." — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister

 

"This is a very dark day for those of us who care about the rule of law, plurality, acceptance, and religious freedom. As Canadians, we are acutely aware that this is not the first time Muslims have been targeted while at prayer. That these innocent victims were murdered in their house of worship adds an additional dimension of horror to a deeply tragic situation." — Jeffrey Rosenthal, co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

 
 
 
 

"Once again, my heart breaks. Not because I am Muslim, but because I am human. But as we condemn the horrific terrorist act in New Zealand, we also must commit ourselves to fighting hatred wherever we find it. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. We belong to God to him we return." — Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

 
 
 
 

Quebec City Muslim worshippers condemn fatal New Zealand mosque attacks

 

QUEBEC — A little more than two years after their own community came under attack, Muslims in Quebec City said they were in shock over the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques Friday that claimed at least 49 lives.

 

Their horror was echoed by members of other Muslim communities across the country as they offered condolences to the grieving families and spoke out against extremism.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned as "absolutely appalling" the attack on worshippers attending Friday prayers in Christchurch.

 
 
 
 

"Hate has no place anywhere," Trudeau said in a statement. "We must all confront Islamophobia and work to create a world in which all people — no matter their faith, where they live, or where they were born — can feel safe and secure."

 

Boufeldja Benabdallah, the head of the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre, said a feeling of "indescribable pain" was apparent in his own community. He expressed his condolences to the New Zealand victims and expressed concern for families in Quebec City being forced to relive the Jan. 29, 2017 attack that left six men dead.

 
 

"I'm convinced they are feeling a terrible pain. Imagine the children of those families here in Quebec who are hearing it on the radio and will watch their mothers cry and ask, 'Why are you crying?' " Benabdallah said.

 

"The mothers will remember the 29th, when they ran to get husbands who were killed by Alexandre Bissonnette."

 

Benabdallah added that amid the mourning, it is time for people to speak out against extremism and for lawmakers to legislate against it.

 
 
 

"We must get back to work once again to explain, to tell these extremists of all stripes who politicize religion, like extremists who use race as a basis for discrimination, that we must change," Benabdallah said. "The world cannot continue like this."

 
 
 

Police in many cities across the country said they were stepping up patrols around places of worship on Friday and communicating with local Muslim communities about their security concerns.

 

"We will have a heightened police presence in the community, focusing on places of worship — especially mosques. We have done this to ensure the city is as safe and secure as possible," said Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook, a Toronto police spokeswoman.

 
 
 

Groups across Canada denounced the attack, including the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada based in Calgary.

 

"This is nothing but terrorism against Muslims. This is nothing but hate against Muslims. This is nothing but Islamophobia," Imam Syed Soharwardy said in a statement.

 

Trudeau said Canadians join New Zealanders and Muslim communities around the world in grieving and condemning the attack and work to act against violent extremism.

 
 
 
 

"Far too often, Muslims suffer unimaginable loss and pain in the places where they should feel safest," Trudeau said. "Canada remembers too well the sorrow we felt when a senseless attack on the Centre culturel islamique de Quebec in Ste-Foy claimed the lives of many innocent people gathered in prayer."

 

Mohamed Labidi, a past president of the Quebec City mosque, told reporters Friday he regretted that humanity had not learned its lesson after the attack on his community.

 

"The worshippers are very shaken by what happened in New Zealand. They are very affected by this," Labidi said following morning prayers.

 
 
 
 

One man was arrested and charged with murder in what appears to have been a carefully planned racist attack in New Zealand.

 

There are unconfirmed reports that the shooter was influenced by Bissonnette, the former Universite Laval student convicted of killing six worshippers in 2017.

 

A now-deleted Twitter account that is believed to be linked to the accused shooter shows what appear to be three assault-rifle magazines, one of which has Bissonnette's name on it.

 
 
 

Bissonnette was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for 40 years, but both the Crown and his own lawyers have recently announced they are appealing the sentence.

 
 

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