On March 15, a gunman opened fire in both the al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack occurred during Friday prayer service and was partially live-streamed on Facebook. The video shows the gunman, a 28-year-old Australian man, being greeted by the words “hello, brother” as he stepped into al Noor Mosque. He immediately began shooting and even went back to his car to get another gun before returning to the place of worship. The shooter then drove to Linwood Mosque where he continued the massacre.
In total, fifty people were killed, with ages ranging from three to 78. Dozens of others were injured. New Zealanders have expressed shock and sadness at the attack.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in particular has been praised for her compassion and determination to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons. On April 10, New Zealand’s Parliament banned most semi-automatic weapons, after Ardern’s temporary ban just days after the attack.
Information was at first released slowly, but a greater understanding of the shooting now exists. The gunman was a white supremacist who believed immigrants are “invaders.” He wrote a manifesto, which is illegal to post on social media in New Zealand, revealing a far-right wing and violent approach to immigration and religion. Officials in New Zealand have concluded that the shooter planned the attack. The next day, families and friends waited anxiously to hear if their loved ones had survived. Some survivors sustained grave injuries and are still hospitalized; on April 12, a 4-year-old victim finally awoke from her coma, bringing hope to her family. The Christchurch community and communities around the globe have come together to show support for the families of the victims and Muslims everywhere.
– Amira Pierotti
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