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Christchurch shooting: 40 dead in terrorist attack at two mosques

Three in custody over mass shootings that also left 20 people seriously injured

Mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques

Fri 15 Mar 2019 07.31

Forty people been killed and 20 injured in a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, which occurred during afternoon prayers.

Three people – one of them an Australian–born man – are in custody.

It was described as “a terrorist attack” by NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern, and an “extremist, right–wing violent terrorist [attack]” by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison.

Christchurch remains on lockdown.

Ardern said: “Many directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here…They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”

The attacker is believed to have livestreamed at least one of the attacks. Police urged people not to share the “distressing” footage, which many Australian news outlets ignored.

New Zealand police have conducted a controlled detonation at Auckland’s largest train station, the Britomart Transport Centre.

The bomb squad attended the station 40 minutes ago, and cordoned off the area. Just minutes ago an explosion was heard. Authorities told local media it was a controlled detonation.

New Zealanders are beginning to arrive with flowers and tributes as dusk falls on Christchurch. “New Zealand is with you.” said a woman who dropped off lilies. “New Zealand stands by you”

Hassan, 29, lives behind the mosque on Dale street and was at the Linwood mosque when the shooting began. Hassan heard shooting in the mosque and women screaming “don’t come here” at the shooters. Police came within 5 to 10 minutes.

The shooter was screaming, waving the gun around wildly and firing it in every direction. He then left the mosque. Hassan is from Sri Lanka and has lived in New Zealand for 6 months. He came to New Zealand for work and opportunities.

“I thought New Zealand was a safe, peaceful country for everyone. I came here because I knew there were no wars. Police told me ‘I am sorry, this is the first time this has ever in this country.’ I don’t know who is dead or alive. I am waiting.”

Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand was “chosen for this act of violence” because it is an example of multiculturalism, diversity and acceptance.

“We New Zealanders were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone this racism, or because we are an enclave of extremism, we were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things,” she said.

“I want to send a message to those directly affected…For many this may have not been the place they were born. For many New Zealand was their choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to…it was a place where many came to for their safety. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion.

“We represent diversity and compassion, a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities and 160 languages.”

She issues “the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this”.

“You may have chosen us but we utterly reject and condemn you.”

Friday 15th March 2019

Categories: All faiths, Integration, Mutuality, Pluralism, Respect, United

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