CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – A day of prayer for Muslims turned into a massacre where nearly 50 people were killed and dozens more were injured on Friday.
An estimated 49 people were killed in a shooting and 20 were seriously injured while at mosques in the New Zealand City of Christchurch. Police said that shots were fired at two mosques, at Al Noor Mosque and at Linwood Mosque, which are around 3 miles apart. The suspect who has already been charged is reportedly in his late 20s. Three others are in custody, believed to be involved in the deadly terror attack. These include, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, three men, and one woman.
In addition, explosive devices were found on a vehicle that police stopped in connection with the terror attack. One of the gunmen live-streamed the attack on Facebook. The attack was presented as an anti-immigration and anti-Muslim attack, with a 74-page anti-immigration manifesto where the author described himself as anti-immigration. He also referred to himself as a white Australian and racist. He also said that he supports U.S. President Donald Trump, who he says is a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad said that ‘You should not be afraid. You should be protected.’ New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack, “unprecedented act of violence”.
At 4:41 a.m. President Donald Trump tweeted, “My warmest sympathy and best wishes go 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!” Trump then went on to post five additional tweets about “Russian Collusion” and “Crooked Hillary”.
The overall majority of those worldwide believes the attack was cruel and inexcusable, while Australian Senator Fraser Anning blames lax immigration laws and fear of the Muslim presence in Australia and New Zealand. “I am utterly opposed to any form of violence within our community, and I totally condemn the actions of the gunman,” said Senator Anning in a statement. “However, whilst this kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both Australian and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence. Let us be clear, while Muslims may have been the victims today, usually they are the perpetrators. Worldwide, Muslims is killing people in the name of their faith on an industrial scale.”
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