Friday, 22 March, 2019

New Zealanders reach out to Muslims in wake of mass shooting

Chicago Muslim groups step up security after New Zealand mosque attacks New Zealand Mosque Shootings Put Focus on Country's Firearms
Jeannette Daniel | 16 March, 2019, 16:40

CHRISTCHURCH, March 16 ― The main suspect in New Zealand's worst peacetime mass shooting meant to continue the rampage before he was caught by police, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, entered no plea when he appeared on Saturday morning in a Christchurch court charged with murder after a terrorist attack on two mosques in the city.

"This horrific event took place and was targeted to one particular community - the Islamic community - in a mosque as they went to prayers in New Zealand", Mr Morrison said.

Workers used heavy machinery to prepare at least a dozen graves at a cemetery near Christchurch on Saturday afternoon, ahead of the unprecedented number of burials due in the coming hours. Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.

Ankara on Friday said it was investigating Tarrant's multiple visits to Turkey, and who he might have met while he was there.

"I can tell you one thing right now - our gun laws will change", she said. Three people are in custody, and one man has been charged with murder.

"They may take our innocence but we will show the world the meaning of love and compassion", said one note taped to flowers left on a road divider.

The President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch sent a message of support to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, following the attack in Christchurch.

I'd be lying if I were to say that I was shocked.

"We stand with New Zealand and Muslim communities here and around the world during this hard time".

In the gunman's rambling manifesto, he said he was not a member of any organization but had donated to and interacted with many nationalist groups, though he acted alone and no group ordered the attack. "The refugee issue and multiculturalism have become politicized and securitized in ways we haven't seen before", says Khalil.

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A video that was apparently livestreamed by the shooter shows the attack in horrifying detail.

As for the suspects, Ardern said, "these are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand".

Two modified semi-automatic weapons - reportedly AR-15s - two shotguns and a lever-action gun were used in Friday's deadly rampage, and photos of the weaponry with distinctive writing on them were posted on social media days before.

A complex and comprehensive investigation into the attack was underway, Ardern pointed out. New Zealand's low-slung second city was cloaked in mourning, shops shuttered and residents zombified, struggling to comprehend Friday's mass shooting that claimed 49 lives - the worst massacre in the history of this nation of five million.

In 2015, GunPolicy.org listed 55 deaths caused by firearms in New Zealand and 59 homicides.

He said they were praying "to our God of all peoples and of all cultures for peace, tolerance and good will".

"I never thought it would happen in New Zealand".

The worshippers and their families caught up in the attacks in the normally peaceful city of Christchurch came from around the world.

Nassar Chahbar, a spoken-word poet and law student, addressed the crowd at the vigil for victims of the New Zealand mosque shootings.

"Not at all, this is New Zealand man, multicultural you know".

In fact, for many, New Zealand was a choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to, the place they were raising their families, where they were part of communities they loved and who loved them.

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