Another incident of white-supremacist terror has taken 49 lives, this time in Christchurch, NZ. At least 48 others were being treated in nearby hospitals.
According to the local New Zealand press site, Stuff.co.nz;
A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and two others are in custody after 49 people were killed in shootings at two Christchurch mosques.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said as of 9pm 49 people had lost their lives in the shootings at the Masjid Al Noor on Deans Ave and the Linwood Masjid on Linwood Ave on Friday.
Forty-one people had died at the Deans Ave mosque, while seven had died at Linwood and one in hospital.
The killer, an Australian citizen, videoed himself with a head-mounted camera shooting unarmed and terrified men, women, and children. The shooter and two accomplices have been arrested. The shooter also posted a manifesto online that mentioned President Trump and Anders Breivik (the Norwegian white supremacist who murdered 77 people in 2011) as inspirations; saying of Trump that he was “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said;
“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. While we do not have any reason to believe at this stage that there are other suspects, we are not assuming that at this stage. The joint intelligence group has been deployed and police are putting all of their resources into this situation.”
Queen Elizabeth sent a two-part message on Twitter, expressing her condolences;
I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives…
…I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured.
At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders.
New Zealand Archbishops, Philip Richardson and Don Tamihere, offered this statement;
“The freedom of worship and religious life is an absolute right to all in this land. We choose to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters and support their continued and inalienable right to live and worship here in peace. All of us who live here in Aotearoa New Zealand must stand in solidarity in the face of such evil – and we call upon Anglicans throughout Aotearoa New Zealand to uphold all those affected in prayer, and to respond to this act by rejecting the rhetoric of hatred and religious intolerance, and to show compassion and kindness to all our neighbours who wish to live here in peace.”
The Anglican bishop of Christchurch, Peter Carrell, issued a statement on behalf of the leaders of churches in Christchurch city and Canterbury province;
Church leaders are absolutely devastated at the unprecedented situation in Christchurch this afternoon and our hearts and prayers go to all involved. No religious organisation or group deserves to be the target of someone’s hate – regardless of beliefs. We stand for an Aotearoa New Zealand which will never condone such violence. So across the churches of Christchurch and Canterbury, we are praying for our Muslim brothers and sisters, for those injured and those who have lost loved ones, for the police, ambulance and other emergency services, and for all in the city of Christchurch who are feeling distress and fear due to this event. We are upholding you all in our prayers. We pray too for the shooter and their supporters, because for any person to do this, they must have such hatred in their hearts, such misalignment of the value of human life, that they too, need our prayer. We thank many others from around our nation and the world who are praying for peace in Christchurch.
New Zealand Anglican blogger and Christchurch resident Bosco Peters likely captured the disorienting experience of many who heard the news in a Facebook post;
image: A man outside the Deans Ave mosque on the edge of Hagley Park after the Christchurch mosque shootings. George Heard/Stuff.co.nz