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Anti-Muslim violence in New Zealand

2019-MAR: Racism fueled the
mass killing. Burials. Donations.
Call to Prayer. Law Loophole.
Prayer broadcast. Gun control.

Part 3:

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This topic is continued below from the previous article

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The racist theory that drives white supremacist terror attacks:

Ishaan Tharoor, writing in the WorldView newsletter at the Washington Post, linked white supremacy, the Christchurch terror attacks, and the Trump presidency. 9 Tharoor said that President:

"Trump is not to blame for the tragedy in Christchurch. But, as an editorial in the Washington Post 2 noted, there isn’t much daylight between the “garden-variety racism” of Tarrant’s manifesto and the far-right nativism at times espoused by Trump and his advisers."

That editorial said, in part:

"THE UNSPEAKABLE carnage in New Zealand must be called out by its proper name: a terrorist attack by a white-nationalist bigot consumed by Islamophobia and impelled by the fervid extremism that suffuses the Internet’s darkest crevices. ..."

President Trump is not to blame for the tragedy, despite his own history of Islamophobic statements and a travel ban that targets predominantly Muslim nations. Still, he should go further than he has; for starters, by condemning the alleged killer, whose nativist rhetoric — he called immigrants “invaders,” attacked “mass immigration” and wrote that he hoped to “directly reduce immigration rates” — overlaps with the president’s own. On Friday, [MAR-15] Mr. Trump cited an “invasion” of immigrants to justify his national emergency declaration to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

And Mr. Trump, who could not bring himself to criticize the white nationalists in Charlottesville who chanted that minorities (Jews, in that case) would “not replace us,” on Friday said he doesn’t regard white nationalism as a problem. That’s the wrong message. Instead, he ought to state unambiguously that the New Zealand suspect’s “replacement” ideology is an unacceptable trope in civilized discourse." 10

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Victim burial:

New Zealand has a popuation of about 4.8 million people. The 50 fatalities at the two mosques number more than the total number of murders during a typical year in New Zealand.

Islam tradition calls for bodies to be buried quickly after death, preferably within 24 hours. However, this was not possible for the victims of Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks because the police have not finished identifying and performing autopsies on the victims' bodies.

The first bodies were buried on MAR-20. Six victims were buried in the Muslim section of Memorial Park Cemetery in eastern Christchurch.

A mass funeral is being planned at the cemetery over the following three days which will probably include about 32 victims. Some families are arranging to have members flown back to their country of birth. 3

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2019-MAR-22: Friday prayers to resume at the Al Noor Mosque:

Muslim leaders have decided to hold prayers one week after the massacre, at the Al Noor Mosque where most of the killings took place. The Mosque's Imam, Gamal Fouda, said:

"We are going to prayer here on Friday. The majority of people, including myself, we decided to come and prayer close to our site. We will never forsake it to please those people who actually attacked us. ... I'm coming back here [feeling] stronger. We need to stand as one community and show that we are still strong and that people will not break us. As Muslims, as New Zealanders, we will stand strong."

Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah at the Linwood Masjid confirmed that his congregation will join in Friday prayers at the Al Noor Mosque. 3

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Massive Donations of money, food, and protection to victims of mosque shootings:

One day after the shooting on Friday MAR-15, over 40,000 persons had made donations totaling over 2.7 million Australian dollars (1.9 million U.S. dollars) to the Givealittle crowd funding campaign.

In addition to financial gifts, individual donors have given halal food to persons at the city's hospitals waiting for news of their injured family member(s). There have been offers to accompany Muslims who were nervous about walking alone on the streets. The Sikh community in Christchurch offered help in washing the bodies of the victims and digging the graves. 1

By early Wednesday morning, March 20 in New Zealand, (late morning on MAR-19 New York time) over 81,000 donors had donated over 6.66 million NZ dollars. You can personally add to these donations by going to the Givealittle web page. 2

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"Worldwide praise" for Prime Minister Ardern's response:

The Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University in Washington DC, which engages in monitoring Islamophobia around the world, said:

"New Zealand’s Prime Minister wins worldwide praise for her response to the Christchurch shooting. ..."

Political commentator, Bryce Edwards, told Reuters:

"New Zealand has never experienced this kind of attack before, and it has shaken the country. Many have lauded Ardern’s response. She swiftly labeled the attacks 'terrorism' and bluntly called an Australian lawmaker’s suggestion of a link between Muslim immigration and violence 'a disgrace.'"

Ardern’s performance has been extraordinary — and I believe she will be strongly lauded for it both domestically and internationally." 4

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Loophole in the gun law used by the Mosque shooter:

The shooter was able to purchase an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, which is the preferred weapon used by mass murderers in various countries worldwide. He used a standard A-Category license which specifies that the rifle magazine hold no more than seven rounds. However, anyone can purchase -- without a license -- a high capacity magazine holding up to 100 rounds, and install it. With the larger magazine attached, the standard AR-15 becomes a military style semi automatic weapon (MSSA) which otherwise can only be purchased with a E-Category license, which is much more difficult to obtain. 5

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New Zealand to broadcast a Muslim call for prayer:

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the country's radio and TV stations will broadcast a Muslim call for payer on MAR-22 s a sign of solidarity with the country’s Muslim community. She also said that the country will observe two minutes of silence, and that women were encouraged to wear head scarves to show their support for the Muslim community. 6

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2019-MAR-16: Kim Kardashian uses the New Zealand tragedy to call for U.S. gun reform:

She tweeted on Saturday morning:

"Just 24 hours after the Christchurch shooting New Zealand bans semiautomatic guns! America take note! Why can't our elected officials put public safety over gun manufacturers' profits?!?" 7

Her comments were premature. The New Zealand government had not banned such rifles immediately. The Cabinet has only begun to consider a ban.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said:

"While work is being done as to the chain of events that lead to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change."

Attorney General David Parker later clarified the topic, saying:

"Those decisions [to restrict rifles] have yet to be taken but the prime minister has signaled that we are going to look at that issue."

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2019-MAR-18: NZ Cabinet confirms that gun reforms are coming:

The New Zealand's federal cabinet has agreed in principle to attempt to change the country's gun laws. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the details will be shared with the public on MAR-21. She said:

"As a Cabinet, we were absolutely unified and very clear. The terror attack in Christchurch on Friday was the worst act of terrorism on our shores. It has exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand's gun laws. The clear lesson from history around the world is that, to make our community safer, the time to act is now. ... I strongly believe that the vast majority of gun owners in New Zealand will agree with the sentiment that change needs to occur." 8

Members of the Cabinet from both the ruling Labour Party and the First Party have agreed that gun law reform is needed. The First Party has opposed gun law changes in the past.

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This topic continues in Part 4

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Rafiq A. Tschannen, "New Zealand mosque attacks prompt flood of support for Muslims," The Muslim Times, 2019-MAR-17, at: https://themuslimtimes.info/
  2. "Victim Support Official Page: Christchurch Shooting Victims' Fund," Givealittle, at: https://givealittle.co.nz/
  3. Kurt Bayer, "Christchurch mosque to host Friday prayer a week after deadly terrorist attacks left 50 people dead," New Zealand Herald, 2019-MAR-20, at: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/
  4. "Today in Islamophobia," The Bridge Initiative, 2019-MAR-19, at: https://mailchi.mp/
  5. Jared Savage, "Christchurch mosque shootings: Briefing to Police Minister Stuart Nash shows gun law loophole also exploited by Northland siege killer Quinn Patterson," New Zealand Herald, 2019-MAR-20, at: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/
  6. "New Zealand to broadcast Muslim call for prayer on national TV and radio on Friday," The Muslim Times, 2019-MAR-20, at: https://themuslimtimes.info/
  7. "Kim Kardashian hit with brutal reality check after using New Zealand massacre to push gun control ..." The Blaze, 2019-MAR-16, at: https://www.theblaze.com/
  8. "New Zealand Will Hold a Top-Level Inquiry Into the Christchurch Mosque Attacks," TIME magazine,2019-MAR-25, at: http://time.com/
  9. Ishaan Tharoor, "The racist theory that underlies terrorism in New Zealand and the Trump presidency," Washington Post, 2019-MAR-18, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  10. Editorial staff, "Trump sends the wrong message on New Zealand. World leaders must denounce the attack," Washington Post, 2019-MAR-15, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/

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Copyright 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2019-MAR-15
Latest update; 2019-MAR-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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