New Zealand is faced with its darkest day as 49 people have been reported dead, following a terrorist attack on Friday. Owing to some unfortunate events in the past, an ugly stereotype has been ingrained in the minds of many, which associates the word ‘terrorism’ with the Islamic religion, but Friday, it is a bitter irony that the ones who were the primary victims of a terrorist attack, were innocent Muslims who simply wanted to uphold their Islamic fate with their routine Friday prayers.
Unfortunately, the day was not as routine as the members of -Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in the centre of the city, and at Linwood Mosque, about three miles away- had expected it to be. On Friday evening the police commissioner Mike Bush, reported that 41 people had been killed at Al Noor Mosque, seven at Linwood Mosque and that a another victim had died at Christchurch Hospital.
He also reported that four people- three men and a woman have been arrested in connection with the attacks. Of the four primary suspects, Bush admits that they have concrete evidence against only one of them, adding that one of them one might have nothing to do with the attack, while the remaining two are still under heavy investigation.
The man involved in the shooting whose face is occasionally seen from the rear-view mirror of his car, believed to be a white supremacist, uploaded on social media and YouTube, a 17-minute footage on the entire incident, from what appears to be a helmet camera.
The clip begins with him driving a car and moments later, pulling up in front of the Al Noor Mosque. The next two minutes was a gruesome footage of him shooting in all directions, as he enters the Mosque. He then exits the Mosque and fires on both sides of the walkway before opting for another gun from the trunk of his car, which was said to have cryptic numbers and symbols inscribed on them. He continues to fire, killing many more in the process. He even says at one point: “There wasn’t even time to aim, there were so many targets.”
Motives of the shooter seem quite clear. Moments before the shooting, it is believed he had posted a white-nationalist manifesto on Twitter and the online forum 8chan. The 8chan post included a link to what appeared to be the gunman’s Facebook page, where he said he would also broadcast live video of the attack.
The bizarre post had pictures of firearms with names of military generals who have also been involved in mass shootings inscribed on them. He also goes ahead to list of a bunch of white nationalists he describes as his heroes. This of course is after he identifies himself as a 28-year-old Australian.
New Zealand has long been known as a peaceful and for the most part, a religiously tolerant nation, which explains why so many feel perplexed by the whole incident.
Ms. Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister has called it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.” “What has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” the prime minister said at a news conference in New Plymouth, describing the shooting as “an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand.”
“Many of those affected may be migrants to New Zealand — they may even be refugees here.”