Sri Lanka bombings: Christchurch retaliation suggested, ISIS claim responsibility

A politician has told the Sri Lankan Parliament that the bombings there in the weekend were a retaliation for the Christchurch mosque attacks on 15 April, but has given no details.

The Prime Ministers of both Sri Lanka and New Zealand say that this claim is ‘premature’.

ISIS have claimed responsibility for the bombings, but it is not clear to what extent, if any.

RNZ: Easter Sunday bombings were retaliation against New Zealand mosque attack – Minister

A Sri Lanka official says initial investigation shows Easter Sunday bombings were a retaliation against New Zealand mosque attack.

A series of coordinated blasts in churches and hotels hit Sri Lanka on Sunday leaving 321 people dead and 500 injured.

“The initial investigation has revealed that this was in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attack,” junior minister for defence Ruwan Wijewardene told parliament.

“It was done by National Thawheed Jama’ut along with JMI,” he said, referring to another local group, Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim.

However, the Associated Press said Mr Wijewardene made the statement about retaliation “without providing evidence or explaining where the information came from”.

So it isn’t clear if this is based on information or facts, or if it is just speculation.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “We have seen reports of the statement from the Sri Lankan Minister of state for defence, alleging a link between the the Easter Sunday terrorist attack and the March 15 attack in Christchurch.

“We understand the Sri Lankan investigation into the attack is in its early stages. New Zealand has not yet seen any intelligence upon which such an assessment might be based.

While it was always possible the Sri Lankan bombings could be in some way linked to the Christchurch shootings I doubt that is the whole explanation.

Finding seven people wiling to be suicide bombers, training and equipping them and planning and carrying out a co-ordinated attack would take time, weeks perhaps, but likely months. Christchurch could just be being used as a convenient excuse, with the connection being used to stir up division and fear.

ABC News:  ISIS claims responsibility for Sri Lanka Easter bombings that killed over 300

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a wave of coordinated bombings at churches and high-end hotels across Sri Lanka.

The terrorist organization offered no evidence to support that assertion, which was initially announced in a statement in Arabic published by its Amaq news agency on Tuesday, saying the attackers were “among the fighters of the Islamic State,” according to a translation by SITE Intelligence Group, a company that tracks extremist groups.

ISIS later issued a longer, formal statement identifying the seven suicide bombers who detonated explosive-laden vests at the churches and hotels and a housing complex on Sunday.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe acknowledged the claim during a press conference in the capital, Colombo.

“All that we knew earlier is that there were foreign links and that this could not have been done just locally,” Wickremesinghe said. “There has been training done and a coordination which we [have] not seen earlier.”

According to multiple U.S. sources briefed on the investigation, ISIS is believed to have been involved in the Sri Lanka attacks in a supportive capacity, but it’s not clear to what degree.

There is always a risk of escalation of terrorism. Violent extremists aim to generate as much publicity and provoke as much fear as possible. Terrorism was established as a global threat with the 9-11 attacks in New York in 2001, and the subsequent retaliation by the US in Iraq that began in 2003 but spread to other countries in the Middle East.

Violence begets violence. There will always be a risk of mass shootings, of bombings, and of other atrocities, but the best way to minimise the risks is to fight violence and provocation with peace and dignified defiance, along with vigilant security systems.

We know that ISIS and other violent extremists are intent on provoking bigger, wider conflict. That risks of that must be minimised, which means minimising irrational and over the top reactions.

 

Golriz Ghahraman speech on the Christchurch terror attacks

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman gave a speech in Parliament yesterday on Christchurch Mosques Terror Attack—Condolence

The truth is, also, that we as politicians bear a little bit of the responsibility. There sit among us those who for years have fanned the flames of division, who have blamed migrants for the housing crisis. There sit among us those who have fanned the hysteria around the United Nations Global Compact for Migration.

Those words were written on the butt of his gun, the gun that killed little Mucad. We have pandered to gratuitous racism by shock jocks to raise our profile.

None of us are directly responsible for what happened on Friday, we are all horrified, but we are also on notice now: we have to change the way we do politics.

I think that all of us should take note of what she said, and I hope that our politicians will change how we do politics.

And that also applies to us, the people, in forums like this. We need to do better in how we discuss politics, and how we treat our politicians.

GOLRIZ GHAHRAMAN (Green): Assalam o alaikum. Our nation’s heart is broken and my heart is broken today. Five days on, as that wound is still so fresh, we find comfort in all the love—all the love—pouring across this beautiful country. I’ve felt the grief as a member of that affected community and as a Kiwi as we gathered at mosques, as we held each other at vigils, as we held our little ones a little tighter when we remembered that little three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim was one of the victims.

The city of Dunedin ran out of flowers on Saturday because they were all at the mosques. That is the New Zealand that welcomed my family and I here when we escaped oppression at the risk of torture. We had lived through a war, and I will never forget being that nine-year-old girl on the escalator at Auckland Airport with my frightened parents. We weren’t turned back. We were welcomed here. So I want to thank every single New Zealander—hundreds of thousands of people—who came out over the last three days, who stood on the right side of history for our values of inclusion and love. It matters to our communities, as we are frightened, and I will never forget that among the victims on Friday was a Syrian family—refugees like my family, who had escaped the harrowing war, the unthinkable. They found freedom here, but they died on Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We owe those victims the truth: this was terrorism. It was terrorism committed by a white supremacist. It was planned at length, and gone unchecked by authorities because white supremacy was not seen as a pressing threat, even as some in the Muslim community were.

Although this man happened to have not been born in New Zealand, we do need to acknowledge the truth that his ideology does exist in pockets here. Our ethnic communities, refugees, and tangata whenua have been telling us this for years; they’ve been reporting this for years. I know it as my daily truth as a politician.

I receive all the barrage of hate online. I receive the threats: the death threats, the rape threats, and the threats of gun violence, online. Every minority in New Zealand knows this as a little bit of our truth. So now we have to pause and listen.

We can’t pretend that this was an aberration from overseas; that would be irresponsible. The truth is that this happened here, and it began with hate speech allowed to grow online. History has taught us that hate speech is a slippery slope to atrocity, and New Zealand must address that now.

The truth is, also, that we as politicians bear a little bit of the responsibility. There sit among us those who for years have fanned the flames of division, who have blamed migrants for the housing crisis. There sit among us those who have fanned the hysteria around the United Nations Global Compact for Migration. Those words were written on the butt of his gun, the gun that killed little Mucad. We have pandered to gratuitous racism by shock jocks to raise our profile. None of us are directly responsible for what happened on Friday, we are all horrified, but we are also on notice now: we have to change the way we do politics.

Our most vulnerable communities are hurt and we are scared. White supremacists want us dead. Those incredible people who poured out into those vigils are watching; they will hold us to account. The world is watching. We have to get this right.

We have to demonstrate to the rest of the world that the values of love and peace and compassion will win over hate and division. We must be brave and have those important and difficult conversations that are long overdue in our country. We must shine a light on the pockets, those shadows of racism that do exist in our country.

We must weave that incredible outpouring of love for our Muslim communities that we’ve seen over the past few days; we have to weave that into an enduring fabric of our society. We owe that to the families who lost loved ones, we owe it to little Mucad.


NOTE:

Golriz has been a controversial MP. I have been critical of her at times, I think especially early in her first term she struggled to work out how to do things – as almost all new MPs do, but her struggles were more on show through social media than most.

But I think what she said here ins important and worth taking notice of.

I don’t want people dredging over what has happened. I want comments to focus on what Golriz says here.

I will have no tolerance for personal or political attacks or general criticisms, name calling, dissing, dragging up past stuff, diversions, religion bashing, sexism, racism, any other ism.

Comments that I deem inappropriate on this thread may be deleted in whole.

 

More New Zealand sympathy and solidarity on show

Dunedin: Community rises in wake of mosque terror

Hundreds of members of the public gathered outside Dunedin’s Al Huda mosque in Clyde St for nearly three hours in a show of support for the city’s Muslim community.

Bouquets of flowers and messages of support have lined the entrance to the mosque since Friday afternoon.

In an emotional address outside the mosque, senior member Haizal Hussaini said his community was still grieving but it was also time to return to some sort of normality.

“This is very emotional at this stage for us, which is why we have been keeping quiet while we grieve, but normalcy needs to go on, children need to go to school tomorrow and we need to pray in our mosque,” Mr Hussaini told the crowd while fighting back tears.

Basin Reserve, Wellington

Thousands gather in Hamilton to show support for victims of Christchurch shootings

Thousands of people stood as one in Hamilton to support the victims of the Christchurch terror attack.

They gathered at Claudelands Park on Saturday night opposite the Jamia Masjid Mosque where flowers, messages of unity, and soft toys covered the footpath.

NZ Herald:  Online donations reach $6.3 million for victims of Christchurch mosque shooting

More than $6.3 million has now been donated to the victims of the Christchurch massacre via online fundraising pages.

The largest of those pages is Givealittle’s official “Christchurch Shooting Victims’ Fund” which as of 9.30pm tonight had raised over $4.3 million from 60,000 plus donors.

The New Zealand Islamic Info Centre has also set up a LaunchGood page which has raised more than $1.7 million from 31,000 plus donors.

A separate online donations page also set up on Victim Support’s own website, after overload on the official Givealittle page, has raised over $120,000.

A handful of other separate Christchurch fundraising pages have also contributed over $100,000.

Memorial events and vigils:

  • Invercargill: A vigil for peace and solidarity will take place at Wachner Place at 11am on Sunday.
  • Timaru: A vigil is being held in Timaru on Sunday at 1:30pm in front of the lookout at Caroline Bay.
  • Christchurch: A memorial event will be held at Cathedral Square on Thursday at 8.30pm.
  • Dunedin: Amnesty Otago will host a vigil at the Octagon on Thursday at 7pm.
  • Auckland: A vigil planned for Aotea Square will take place on March 22.
  • Monday March 18, 6pm, Wairarapa, Masterton Town Hall
  • Thursday March 21, from 7pm, Civic Square, vigil by Amnesty at Vic
  • Friday March 22, 12.30, Nelson Islamic Cultural Society Mosque, 320 Hardy St invite you to hold hands to show solidarity in prayer.
  • Monday 18 March, 1pm, The Soundshell,