Political and Islamic leaders across Asia and other regions of the world have expressed shock and disgust at the deadly terrorist attack which took place at two mosques, during prayers, in New Zealand Friday.
Following the heinous attack, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said many of the people caught in the crosshairs of the shooter may have been migrants or even refugees.
“They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand.”
French, Norwegian prime ministers say extremism continues to permeate
President Emmanuel Macron says France “stands against all forms of extremism and acts with its partners against global terrorism,” sending condolences to the victims and their families.
Erna Solberg, Norway’s head of government, said “the fight against extremism in all its forms must come high on the agenda,” and that the shooting in Christchurch brought back memories of Anders Breivik, the right-wing extremist who killed 77 people at a summer camp in 2011.
“This shows that extremism is still flourishing in many places.”
Mayor of London, President of the European Council reflect on attack
A heartbroken Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the UK city stood with the people of Christchurch in the face of the “horrific terror attack.” Along the same vein, President of the European Council Donald Tusk took to Twitter to extend condolences and offer solidarity to PM Ardern and the people of New Zealand.
Indonesia condemns New Zealand attack
“Indonesia strongly condemns this shooting act, especially at a place of worship while a Friday prayer was ongoing,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi expressed.
Malaysia shows solidarity
Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the biggest party in its ruling coalition, added “I am deeply saddened by this uncivilized act, which goes against humanistic values and took the lives of civilians,” noting that “we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and the people of New Zealand.”
Turkey speaks out after the terror attack
“This attack shows the point which hostility to Islam and enmity to Muslims has reached,” Ibrahim Kalin, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman stated on Twitter, condemning the “racist and fascist” attack. “We have seen many times Islamophobic discourse against Islam and Muslims turning into a perverse and murderous ideology. The world must raise its voice against such discourse and must say stop to Islamophobic fascist terrorism.”
India shows support for New Zealand
Kamal Faruqui, founder of India’s All India Muslim Personal Board NGO said the attack was “highly condemnable,” adding that “an anti-Muslim virus is spreading across the world…. “people of all religions should be very worried.”
Afghanistan expresses shock
Afghan ambassador to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, Wahidullah Waissi, said, on Twitter, “my thoughts are with the family of Afghan origin who’ve been shot and killed at this heinous incident.”
Pakistan PM condemns attacks
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan says that “terrorism does not have a religion,” as he condemned the attack on Christchurch before commenting that he blamed “these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where Islam & 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim.”
Australia’s Prime Minister flags to be flown half-mast
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that there is “no place” in Australia and New Zealand for extremism and ordered flags to be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect.
Social Media Sites Struggle to Stem Spread of Mosque Attack Footage
Meanwhile, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have been working to stem the spread of gruesome and horrific footage of an unprecedented massacre at a mosque in New Zealand as it was taking place — 49 people have been killed and at least 40 others hospitalized with injuries.
A live-streamed GoPro video from one of the attackers, a 28-year-old Australian who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant, showed the attack in Christchurch from his perspective, in an uncanny resemblance to a first-person-shooter video game.
Local law enforcement alerted Facebook to a video “shortly after the livestream commenced,” Facebook stated, adding that the company has removed the original video, which has now been verified by the French news agency AFP, along with the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. However, copies and excerpts from the video have continued to appear on social media platforms like Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter hours later.
New Zealand police asked social media users to stop sharing the purported shooting footage and said they were seeking to have it taken down.
Twitter announced it had suspended an account related to the shooting and is working to remove the video from its platform. According to a Google spokesperson, YouTube, which is owned by Google, removes “shocking, violent and graphic content” as soon as it is made aware of it.
“Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage,” a YouTube spokesperson tweeted.
“We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware,” said Mia Garlick, a Facebook spokesperson in New Zealand said. “We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continue.”
Tarrant has been arrested and charged with murder, Aljazeera reported, though police have not named the man in custody but said he was in his late 20s. He is scheduled to appear in court Saturday morning, police said. Three others, a woman and two men, have also been taken into custody.
Around midday Friday, a gunman with a GoPro strapped to him walked into Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand and opened fire on worshippers with a semi-automatic weapon. A second shooting attack took place at a mosque in Linwood about 2 miles east of Christchurch.
Seven people died at the Linwood mosque, 41 died at the first mosque, and one person died in hospital. At least 40 others have been hospitalized with gunshot wounds, about half are in a critical condition, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The attack was carried out around the time of the weekly Muslim Friday prayer that sees hundreds of worshipers attending a sermon and a prayer at different mosques, lasting about 45 minutes around midday.
Mosques across New Zealand will remain under police protection for the foreseeable future, New Zealand police said.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the alleged gunman, Tarrant, as an “extremist, right-wing” terrorist. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern clearly labeled the mass shooting as a “terrorist attack.”
The 28-year-old suspect also shared a link to a manifesto which Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison, who was briefed on the document, called “a work of hate.”
The author of the document describes himself as an ethnonationalist and a fascist in the text, adding that the attack had been planned for two years.