Anti-Muslim violence in New Zealand
2019-MAR to 2020-AUG:
TIME magazine cover.
Gun control bill introduced.
Chief Censor acts.
Senate censures Senator.
Peace Prize Petitions.
Probable retaliations in Sri Lanka
Turkey for the NZ shooting.
Suspected shooter pleads not guilty,
is found guilty & given a life sentence.
2019-MAR-23: New Zealand's Chief Censor acts:
David Shanks, New Zealand's Chief Censor, has banned the 74-page manifesto written by Brenton Tarrant -- the person charged with multiple murders in the mosque killings. Earlier, the censor had banned the 17-minute live video of the massacre that the shooter filmed from a camera on his helmet. However, researchers and journalists can apply for an exemption from the ban.
Stephen Franks, a spokesperson for the Free Speech Coalition disagrees with the move. He said:
"People are more confident of each other and their leaders when there is no room left for conspiracy theories, when nothing is hidden. The damage and risks are greater from suppressing these things than they are from trusting people to form their own conclusions and to see evil or madness for what it is.
2019-MAR-25: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a government investigation:
The government will hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry, the country’s highest form of investigation. She said:
"While New Zealanders and Muslim communities around the world are both grieving and showing compassion for one another, they are also quite rightly asking questions on how this terror attack was able to happen here. ... In short, the inquiry will look at what could have or should have been done to prevent the attack. It will inquire into the individual and his activities before the terrorist attack, including, of course, a look at agencies. ... There will be a focus on whether our intelligence community was concentrating its resources appropriately and whether there were any reports that could, or should, have alerted them to this attack, It is important that no stone is left unturned to get to the bottom of how this act of terrorism occurred and what, if any, opportunities we had to stop it." 1
2019-APR-01: Time magazine's cover will capture the feelings of New Zealanders towards the mosque shootings:
Ruby Jones, 25, is an artist from Wellington New Zealand. She drew a striking image for the Time cover. It showed the backs of three children holding hands: a boy and two girls. The girl in the center is wearing a hijab. They are looking at the sky which is lit by 50 stars -- one for each murder victim. Jones said:
"I was thinking how important a time it is, now more than ever, to be standing together in this world. We can acknowledge that we are all different, every single one of us. We come from different countries, different cultures, different religions, different upbringings, but at the end of the day none of us know what we are doing on this planet," 2
The caption reads: "What Terror Can't Divide." It is the title of the lead article.
2019-APR-02: Bill to restrict gun sales passes first reading in Parliament:
A gun control bill easily passed its first hurdle in the New Zealand Parliament. Only one member, David Seymour leader of the ACT New Zealand (Conservative) party, opposed the bill. He said it had been too rushed:
"Doing it in nine days before politicians go on their Easter break is starting to look more like political theater than public safety." 3
According to the Associated Press:
"The bill would ban 'military-style' semi-automatic guns and high-capacity magazines. It would also ban semi-automatic shotguns that could be fitted with detachable magazines and pump-action shotguns that can hold more than five rounds.
The bill wouldn’t ban guns often used by farmers and hunters, including semi-automatic .22-caliber or smaller guns that hold up to 10 rounds, or shotguns that hold up to five rounds." 3
Police Minister Stuart Nash said that the lawmakers were motivated by the need for public safety. He said:
"We are also driven by the memory of 50 men, women and children who were taken from their loved ones on the 15th of March. Their memory is our responsibility. We don’t ever want to see an attack like this in our country again. We are compelled to act quickly." 3
A private citizen, Hayden Livingstone, initiated a Parliamentary petition urging Parliament to not pass the bill. The text reads:
"We believe this reform is unjust to law-abiding New Zealand citizens and we question the efficacy of these changes, specifically in regard to public safety given admissions by officials that recently restricted firearms will remain in the hands of those willing to break the law. We believe that recent changes to New Zealand firearms regulation is ill-advised, partly due to the speed at which they have been implemented and also due to (understandable) emotionally driven public pressure." 4
By APR-02, 15,135 people had signed the petition. More signatures will be accepted until APR-23.
2019-APR-02: Senator Fraser Anning criticized for statement about mosque killings:
Senator Mehreen Faruqi, a Muslim, told the New Zealand Senate:
"Just a week before I joined this place [the Senate], ... [Senator Anning] gave a speech calling for a ban on people like me coming to this country."
In its first sitting since the mosque attack on MAR-15, the Australian Senate passed a censure motion against Anning. This is the first such motion in four years.
Anning sent Reuters an email saying that:
"This censure motion against me is a blatant attack on free speech."
Referring to the email, Labor Senator Penny Wong said:
"There is a difference between freedom of speech and hate speech. The former is a feature of our democracy. The latter is an attack on democracy. This motion makes it clear he doesn’t speak for us. He doesn’t speak for the Senate. He doesn’t speak for this nation. He doesn’t represent Australian values. This motion makes it clear he doesn’t speak for us. He doesn’t speak for the Senate. He doesn’t speak for this nation. He doesn’t represent Australian values." 5
2019-APR-03: Senator Fraser Anning was censured by fellow Senators:
Senator Anning, an Independent, had been widely criticized for:
- vilifying Muslims in general,
- blaming the MAR-15 attack on New Zealand's immigration policies, and
- blaming the mosque attack and murders on the victims of the attack.
He had earlier said:
"The real cause of the bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place."
He was also criticized for striking Will Connolly, 17, who had broken a raw egg over the Senator's head. Will is now known as "Egg Boy" around the world.
"It might have only been an idiot with an egg this time, but there is a continuum that begins with this and ends with a fanatic with a gun or a bomb. ... But apparently, according to Prime Minister Morrison, that’s OK, as long as the victims are conservatives."6
On Parliament's second sitting since the attack, his fellow Senators -- both from the government and the opposition -- passed a censure motion against Anning for:
"... seeking to attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion, which do not reflect the opinions of the Australian Senate or the Australian people."
Senate Leader Mathias Cormann told his fellow Senators:
"Sen. Anning’s comments were ugly and divisive. They were dangerous and unacceptable from anyone, let alone a member of this place." 7
Senator Mehreen Faruqi, a member of the Greens party, who was born in Pakistan, introduced an online petition to the Senate that had been signed by more than 1.4 million signatures and called on Anning to resign. The Senate voted to censure Anning.
2019-APR-04: Brenton Harrison Tarrant to face 89 charges in court:
The suspect in the mosque shooting will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges when he makes his second appearance in court tomorrow. Because of the seriousness of the charges, his case has been moved to the High Court. He will appear via a video link. There may be even more charges laid against him in the future.
Tarrant is believed to have fired his lawyer and plans to represent himself in court.
Twenty-five media organizations had applied to the Court to take film, photographs and/or audio recordings. All were denied.
New Zealand’s Department of Corrections said in an email that: "At this time, he has no access to television, radio or newspapers and no approved visitors." 8
2019-APR: Nobel Peace Prize Petitions:
At least two petitions have been initiated to nominate the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, to be the recipient of the year 2020 Nobel Peace Prize:
- An English language web site: Change.org. It was sponsored by Shahed Abu Jwaied, the CEO of Integrate Women International.
"Jacinda Ardern's leadership has guided us through this tragedy more than we could have expected. Although it's her duty as a New Zealander and as a leader, the world also has witnessed and have already learned from her leadership and the way she handled this tragedy in our community like no other.
She genuinely grieved with our community and gave us hope for PEACE in this hard time. She has already, since the attack, changed our gun laws and changed New Zealand forever as she promoted unity.
"It's not just New Zealanders who have been praising Ardern's response to these terror attacks, but people and politicians the world over, both for her genuine empathy and strong leadership, and swift action on gun laws. She's also inspiring young New Zealanders - a light in New Zealand's darkest days."
As of 2019-APR-22, it had collected 67 thousand signatures, including my own. See: https://www.change.org/ The Muslim Times reported that within a few days, 250,000 signatures had accumulated." 13
- A English/French language web site: Avaaz.org. As of 2019-APR-5, it had collected 3,800 signatures, including my own. See: https://secure.avaaz.org/
In addition, Fortune Magazine included Jacinda Ardern as the second entry on their list of the 50 greatest world leaders.They said:
"Future leaders can look to Ardern for a master class in how to guide a country through a crisis." 9
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates took the #1 spot their years of philanthropy work. #3 was Robert Mueller for his report on Russian election interference in the U.S.
2019-APR-21: Massive loss of life in Sri Lanka:
At least seven suicide bombers attacked two Roman Catholic churches, one evangelical Christian churdh, and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka during the morning of APR-21. All attacks were within a twenty minute interval. During the early afternoon there was an attack at a downmarket hotel and a house in Columbo.
There has been a wide-spread agreement that the attacks were retaliation for the lone gunman who attacked two mosques in New Zealand and killed 50 Muslims. However, the Independent newspaper in the UK has said that:
"The terror cell behind the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka had been preparing to carry out the attacks for at least three months." 12
Thus, they would have started to plan the attack long before the mass milling at two mosques in New Zealand.
There are reports that intelligence officers from India contacted officers in Sri Lanka two hours before the attacks to warn them of pending attacks on churches.
The death toll was 359 people. About 500 were wounded. Most were Sri Lankans, although 39 other victims were from Australia, China, Denmark, Holland, India, Portugal, Turkey, the US, and UK. The U.N. Children’s Fund said 45 children were among the dead.
Initially, two Sri Lankan Islamist groups were blamed for the attack: the National Thawheed Jama’ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim. However, the Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Ruwan Wijewardene, the Sri Lankan junior minister for defense said:
"The initial investigation has revealed that this was in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attack." 10
2019-APR-24: A suspected member of the Islamic State is arrested in Turkey:
An Syrian man, who is believed to belong to the Islamic State, was arrested on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack.
An annual memorial service is held in Tekirdağ, in Northwest Turkey by Australians and New Zealanders. They commemorate what to them was an unsuccessful World War I military campaign, during 1915. At that time, military forces of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) joined other forces to battle Ottoman Empire troops.
On 2019-APR-24 and 25, soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, and other countries held services there. The Demiroren news agency said that the arrested man was planning to attack at one of the commemorations in retaliation for the earlier attack on Muslims in New Zealand. 11
2019-JUN-14: New Zealand suspected gunman pleads not guilty:
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, is the first person to be charged under the New Zealand anti-tarrorism law. He pleaded not guilty to all charges when he appeared via a video link from a high security prison in Auckland that was viewed in the Christchurch High Court.
Tarrant has undergone mental health assessments which determined that he is mentally fit to stand trial.
He is currently charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 of attempted murder. One person who was wounded during the attack has died. This generating one more count of murder, and eliminated one attempted murder charge.
His trial began on 2020-MAY-04. 14
2020-MAR to AUG: Brenton Tarrant, the suspect in the New Zealand mosque shooter, pleaded guilty and was sentenced:
Brenton Tarrant, 29, changed his mind and pleaded guilty to 51 murder charges, 40 attempted murder charges, and one charge of committing a terrorist act. 15
On 2020-AUG-17, after a four-day hearing in at the High Court in Christchurch, NZ, he was given a life sentence with no chance for parole. (New Zealand had abolished the death penalty in 1961.) Tarrant is the first prison inmate in the country who will never be eligible for parole.
The 2019 killing spree was ended by Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah, who threw a credit card machine at Tarrant. Abdul was hailed as a hero by residents of Christchurch who carried him on their shoulders after the sentence was delivered. He told Tarrant that he:
"... should thank God on that day that I didn’t catch you. This government would save a lot of money."
Judge Mander described Tarrant as:
"... a deeply impaired person motivated by a base hatred of people you perceive to be different. From what I can gauge, you are empty of any empathy for your victims. ... You remain entirely self-absorbed, you have offered no apology or acknowledgment of the harm you caused. ... Your focus appears to be on yourself and the position you find yourself in.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern later initiated the tightening of New Zealand's gun laws. Most semi-automatic and assault rifles are now banned. The goverment is buying back existing firearms from their owners.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Nick Perry, "New Zealand Will Hold a Top-Level Inquiry Into the Christchurch Mosque Attacks,"New Zealand Will Hold a Top-Level Inquiry Into the Christchurch Mosque Attacks." TIME magazine, 2019-MAR-25, at: http://time.com/
- D.W. Pine, "The Story Behind TIME's Christchurch Cover," Time Magazine, 2019-MAR-11, at: http://time.com/
- "New Zealand lawmakers pass initial vote for new gun controls," One News Now, 2019-APR-02, at: https://onenewsnow.com/
- Hayden Livingstone, Petition: "Kiwis request reasonable time for consultation regarding Firearms Law reform," New Zealand Parliament, 2019-MAR-25, at: https://www.parliament.nz/
- "Australia's Senate condemns lawmaker over New Zealand massacre Muslim comments," Reuters, 2019-APR-02, at: https://www.reuters.com/
- Rod Mcguirk, "Australian senator censured for blaming Muslim victims," Associated Press, 2019-APR-03, at: https://apnews.com/
- "Egged Australian Senator Censured for Victim-Blaming New Zealand Muslims," Daily Beast, 2019-APR-12, at: https://www.thedailybeast.com/
- Nick Perry, "Mosque massacre suspect to face 89 charges in court Friday, Associated Press, 2019-APR-04, at: https://www.apnews.com/
- Fortune names Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern second greatest leader in world," 22019-APR-19, at: https://www.radionz.co.nz/
- "Islamic State claims Sri Lanka blasts, as government says probe making progress," Reuters, 2019-APR-22, at: https://www.reuters.com/
- "Turkey detains suspect believed planning to attack ANZAC service: police," Reuters, 2019-APR-24, at: https://www.reuters.com/
- Adam Withnall, "Sri Lanka attack planned for ‘months’ as eighth British victim named," The Independent, 2019-APR-24, at: https://www.independent.co.uk/
- Rafiq A. Tschannen, "Nobel Prize for a noble woman," The Muslim Times, 2019-APR-01, at: https://themuslimtimes.info/
- Emanuel Stoakes, "Suspected New Zealand mosque gunman pleads not guilty," Washington Post, 2019-JUN-14, at: ttps://www.washingtonpost.com/
- Emanuel Stoakes, "New Zealand’s grief turns to joy as mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant is sentenced to life in prison," Washington Post, 2020-AUG-27, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
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Copyright © 2019 & 2020 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally written: 2019-MAR-15
Latest update; 2020-AUG-27
Author: B.A. Robinson