“Never felt more at home than she had in the last 10 days”.

Jacinda Ardern has continued to engage with and reassure Muslims around New Zealand. Yesterday she visited the Dunedin mosque that was considered as a target by the Christchurch terrorist, and also a Muslim child care centre.

Newshub: Dunedin Muslim’s ‘astounding message’ to Jacinda Ardern about New Zealand after Christchurch attack

A Muslim woman in Dunedin told Jacinda Ardern she only feels at home in New Zealand since the Christchurch terror attack.

The Prime Minister visited Dunedin’s Al Huda Mosque on Wednesday, which the alleged 28-year-old gunman reportedly said in his manifesto was the original target of the March 15 shooting.

The Prime Minister said she felt it was appropriate to visit the Dunedin mosque to reiterate her message of safety and inclusion for the Muslim community in the wake of the attack that left 50 dead and dozens injured.

Ardern said there was one woman in the mosque who told her she had lived in New Zealand for more than a decade but had “never felt more at home than she had in the last 10 days”.

“I found that such an astounding message in the wake of what the community has experienced,” the Prime Minister said, adding that she discussed safety with the community, particularly with Muslim women who “wear their faith”.

I think that there is no doubt that many New Zealanders have increased their understanding and reduced suspicion of Muslims living in New Zealand, many of whom are immigrants.

It’s good to see that this has had a positive spin-off.

ODT:  City’s Muslims say thank you to PM

As the Prime Minister consoled and consulted with Dunedin Muslims yesterday they had only two words for her – thank you.

Jacinda Ardern travelled to the city yesterday to show solidarity to the Islamic community following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Parents huddled outside the Au-Nur Child Education and Care Centre in South Dunedin awaiting her arrival in the morning.

Ms Ardern, wearing a hijab, hugged parents and Muslim community leaders before entering the Islamic kindergarten.

Centre head teacher Rosy Jaforullah said Ms Ardern’s presence was reassuring to the parents.

”They now feel safer sending their children to Au-Nur.”

She admitted this would not be the case for some parents who still kept them at home out of fear.

”For that I don’t know what to do.”

It has been a difficult time for many Muslims.

In the early afternoon, Ms Ardern spoke to hundreds of Dunedin Muslims at the Al Huda mosque, which was the gunman’s original target.

University of Otago student Aisya Ahmad Zamri said there was a sense of gratitude among the people there.

”We feel overwhelmed by how she showcases her leadership skills. Not every prime minster would come here and do that.”

Otago Muslim Association chairman Mohammed Rizwan said mosque members largely wanted to thank Ms Ardern.

”We are quite happy with how she has handled this.”

Some at the mosque questioned how the Prime Minister would keep the country safe in the future. She assured them this was at the top of the Government’s mind.

Further engagement with the Muslim community is being encouraged: ‘Talk to us’ – open day at mosque

The large number of Dunedin residents asking to pray alongside the Muslim community at Al Huda mosque has prompted the Otago Muslim Association to hold an open day this Sunday.

Association chairman Mohammed Rizwan said the Clyde St mosque would be open to the public between 10am and 5pm.

”Heaps of people have been asking if they can come and visit the mosque and pray with us, and out of safety, we have been saying no to them.

”But now we have decided we should have a mosque open day, just to invite people to come and see what it is like inside and they can see us, they can talk to us, we can talk to them and we can have activities inside the mosque.”

He said the event aimed to show appreciation and acknowledge the great support being received from the wider community.

I don’t want to go and pray, but I think I will go on Sunday to talk.

Dr Rizwan was delighted to see support for the Muslim community was not waning.

He said it was possible groups of all nationalities, cultures and religions would get together to organise an event celebrating Dunedin’s diversity, and ultimately creating unity.

I think that all of us could work on this more, and not just at specific events. There are immigrants living in five of the six households in my immediate neighbourhood.

 

Jacinda Ardern – leadership by example, with some wee mistakes

Jacinda Ardern has been widely applauded throughout New Zealand and around the world for the way she has handled the terror attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March. She has deserved this praise – she claimed “I just think I’m displaying humanity”, but she has also lead by example, with most of the country following her lead.

Stuff:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects on the week

“I don’t think I’m displaying leadership. I just think I’m displaying humanity.”

Leadership by example is one of the most effective forms of leadership.

“Even off the back of today, you’ve had thousands of people exposed to a faith they may not have been exposed to. It’s really a bringing together of communities. In that regard, I think we are all forever changed. In many ways, but particularly that.”

“In politics we can choose to model behaviour. That’s part of the reason I was very deliberate in choosing to not name the terrorist, and to call it terrorism. But ultimately it will be up to every individual, media outlet and politician to take responsibility for our positions and language.

Not naming the terrorist was strongly symbolic from Ardern, although many had chosen not to name him before that. I had already chosen not to name him, and have continued with that stance for now.

But the media have a responsibility to report facts, and names of murders and terrorists are basic facts, so should be recorded in public.

She was confident she reflected the values of the majority, and the public response would confirm she was right, but while “this attack was brought to us by someone who was not a citizen”, we cannot hide from the fact that the ideology also existed here.

The non-naming was reflecting an already established practice of many. Ardern was perceptive to that, and as a leader amplified what others were doing.

“I genuinely believe that all I am modelling are the values of New Zealanders. On every occasion when I’ve had an opportunity to share words, all I’ve reflected in my mind is ‘what are New Zealanders feeling right now? What are the words I’m hearing expressed around me? How do we all feel?'”

She can’t and hasn’t reflected how we all feel. There have been many feelings, emotions and reactions.  But I think there is no doubt that Ardern captured and boosted the feelings of the vast majority of New Zealanders.

“One of the things we can all do is never allow New Zealand to be an environment where any of that hostility can survive. [But] terrorism doesn’t have borders, we’ve seen that now. So we can do our bit in New Zealand but actually we need to try and play a leadership role too.”

Which she did admirably. If you read comments at Whale Oil and Kiwiblog, some on twitter and Facebook, and some here, not everyone admires how Ardern has done things. Some people will never like her regardless of what she does, that seems to be ingrained in some in politics. And some seem to resent her success at leading the country in a time of real need.

One think in particular Ardern bashers have been going about is her wearing of a scarf. I think criticisms have been misguided and in some cases way over the top. Ardern did not make it compulsory, she chose to do it herself, as did some others. I’m sure she was acting on considered advice.

I presume Ardern will have heard some of the criticisms, but she continued to wear a scarf or head covering on other occasions. She was obviously comfortable that she was in the main doing something that was appreciated by those who mattered the most, the victims of the shootings, which included the whole Muslim community. So I applaud her to sticking with her symbolic gesture.

It wasn’t a mistake to antagonise people who would have found something to feel offended about whatever she did. They are a part of ‘all New Zealanders’, but a small minority.

(It’s interesting to see the predominance of ‘New Zealand’ and ‘New Zealander’ over the past week and a bit).

A separation between Whale Oil and Judith Collins is evident on this issue. Collins in Parliament on Wednesday:

I would like to thank the Prime Minister for the work she did on Saturday. I thought it was outstanding. I know there has been unfortunate comment on the internet about the fact that she chose to wear a scarf. I wear a scarf, and I do whenever I enter other people’s places of worship, where that is appropriate. It is a mark of respect, and I thought it was the right thing to do.

While the most prominent, Ardern is not the only politician who has shown leadership over the Christchurch terrorism. Most other Members of Parliament have also stepped up and shown leadership. Collins in that same speech:

One of the things I know is that Muslim New Zealanders have been with us since 1850. Islam is part of New Zealand, as all other religions are that are here, and those who don’t have religion, because it is something that people have as a belief system and it is part of who they are.

We are very lucky in New Zealand that with our 220 ethnicities, we have not had anything like this before. I hope that when we get to the bottom of what could be done in the future to help stop this happening again, I think that we will have a much safer and a much better community from it.

Another issue that Ardern showed leadership on was addressing our inadequate firearm laws. She ensured that we acted quickly, and she made sure she had the other party leaders working with her on making changes. Credit to all of them on that.


I think Ardern did make some mistakes in the heat of the moment. She delved into legal and procedural issues that are not her place to be.

Newshub: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern considering deporting alleged gunman

The Prime Minister is considering legal options to deport Brenton Tarrant, but says the alleged gunman will face justice in New Zealand.

“In cases where you have seen deportation, it’s generally at the conclusion of a sentence being served,” she told media. “He’s not going anywhere until he’s faced justice here”.

“Absolutely charges and the trial itself will happen in New Zealand. As for the remainder, I’m seeking advice. He will certainly face the justice system of New Zealand.”

I don’t think deportations are the Prime Minister’s call to make.

Ardern also made comments about how the trial of the terrorist might bee run to deny him publicity, and she also tried to influence the media on how they would cover the trial.

From NZ Herald:

This raised the prospect of Tarrant conducting his own defence at trial and using the high-profile prosecution to promote his beliefs, which were detailed in a manifesto before Friday’s shootings.

Speaking to media this morning, Ardern said this was “something that we need to acknowledge and do what we can to prevent the notoriety that this individual seeks”.

This is not an area she should be involved in.

“Lifting his profile was one of them. That’s something that we can absolutely deny him.”

But when it comes to the alleged gunman’s court appearances, Ardern said the media had a part to play in preventing the wider public from hearing his extremist views.

Neither this.

Asked what could be done to prevent the accused from having a platform, Ardern said this was something that was “very early on” in her thinking.

“I’ve only had beginnings of conversations – that’s something I think we really will be looking to the media around its kind of coverage.

“Of course, people will want to know what is happening with the trial. But I would hope there are ways that it could be covered without adding to the notoriety that this individual seeks.”

She should not be getting herself involved in how the police and how the courts conduct the trial. There should be a clear separation between that and politicians. At least she acknowledged this.

She said any decisions about having the trial behind closed doors was not up to her.

“That’s why, as I say, this is a conversation I think really the media can play a strong role in.”

The media will do things as they see fit – and some journalists also made statements in the heat of the moment that may be put aside when the reality of responsibility of covering the trial goes.

Ardern should play no part in either how the media covers the trial, or how the trial is conducted – that is up to the prosecution and the court, ultimately primarily the judge.

I’m sure she understands that and will back off from this.

But in general she has done a very good job of leadership and promoting humanity.

 

 

Dunedin vigil and 2 minutes silence for Christchurch terror attacks – video record

Video coverage of the Dunedin vigil on Thursday 21 March, where 15-18,000 people gathered to pay their respects to those killed in the Christchurch terror attacks on Friday 15 March 2019.

Part 1:

Part 2:

 

About a thousand people gathered at Dunedin’s Al Huda mosque in Friday 22 March 2019 for two minutes silence to remember those who fell victim to the  terror attack in Christchurch a week earlier.

Otago Daily Times coverage:

The call to prayer echoed across a packed Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin last night.

As the sun set, members of Dunedin’s Muslim community knelt in silent worship, surrounded by the flickering candles of a city united in support.

About 15,000 people have turned up to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tonight to pay their respects to those affected by the Christchurch terror attacks.

Close to 1000 people gathered outside Dunedin’s Al Huda mosque were welcomed with a karakia ahead of a national call to prayer and two minutes silence’ to remember those killed in one of New Zealand’s darkest days.

Dunedin’s Muslims gathered at the mosque in Clyde St for Friday prayers today, exactly one week after the Christchurch mosque shootings, in which 50 people died, while others are gathered outside.

Friday prayers were held as usual at Dunedin’s mosque yesterday, but on the street outside about 1000 supporters stood silent.

The crowd gathered outside the Al Huda mosque to join others throughout the country in listening to an Arabic call to prayer, which was broadcast on television and radio at 1.30pm, followed by two minutes of silence.

Fifty candles, one for each person killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks last Friday were lit on the footpath outside the mosque’s gate.

In Dunedin, the Al Huda mosque, in Clyde St, quickly become the focal point for an outpouring of both grief, and a support for the city’s Muslim community, that grew as the week went on.

New Zealand and the world overwhelmingly defies aims of Christchurch terrorist

Aims of the man who killed 49 people in two Christchurch mosques included trying to divide New Zealand and the world, trying to inflate hate. His atrocities have had the opposite effect.

While there have been isolated attempts at excusing his actions, of victim blaming, and other inappropriate responses, New Zealanders have have overwhelmingly expressed disgust at the mass murder of innocent and defenceless people, and have overwhelmingly shown sympathy and empathy for the victims and their families and friends, and for the whole Muslim community throughout New Zealand.

Vigils for Christchurch mosque shooting victims held across the country

Thousands of people have gathered across New Zealand to mourn the victims of Friday’s terror attack in Christchurch.

At Deans Avenue mosque, people wanting to pay their respects laids flowers at a police cordon, as armed offenders swept the area with metal detectors on Saturday.

In Auckland, thousands of people attended at vigil at Aotea Square, with more planned across the country.

‘We love you’: mosques around world showered with flowers after Christchurch massacre

Mosques in New Zealand and around the world have been inundated with floral tributes and messages of support after a massacre in Christchurch in which 49 Muslims were killed.

The strongest response from the public was in New Zealand, which is reeling in the wake of the worst peacetime mass killing in the nation’s history.

The outpouring of support for the Muslim community was so large that outside some mosques there was nowhere for well-wishers to park. Some messages read: “We love you”, “We are one” and “Forever changed”.

In Australia, the response to the massacre was similarly heartfelt, with tributes pouring into mosques across the country.

The outpouring of support continued in America where people also left candles outside mosques.

In Britain, solidarity was also on show.

Muslim places of worship in Canada also saw tributes.

Typical around the world:

Muslims are New Zealanders, residents or citizens, like the rest of us. They were going about their lives peacefully. Many of them came to New Zealand seeing it as a place safe from awful situations overseas.

It has been reported that victims are associated with a number of countries, including Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

New Zealanders, have been out in force around the country and on social media showing their sympathy for those affected by the atrocities, and their solidarity with Muslims and their communities.

Rather than divide the awful events have done the opposite, they have initiated outpourings of peaceful messages, of sympathy, of love, of togetherness.

Kiwis are overwhelmingly demonstrating that, while terrorism cannot always be avoided, the effects can be negated by defying the aims of sick, murderous individuals.

A lot of credit needs to be given to people who helped victims of the shootings on and around the scenes in Christchurch on Friday. People who must have been at risk themselves helped their fellow human beings in need.

The police officers and ambulance officers had very demanding jobs to do, uncertain of the risks of the situations they were putting themselves into. Many of them deserve a lot of praise – when the going gets tough people stepped up big time.

Two police officers, aware in part at least of what had happened, aware of the likelihood the perpetrator would still be armed (he was), rammed and disable his car and apprehended him. This bravery, risking their lives, may well have saved other lives.

Give-a-Little – Victim Support Official Page: Christchurch Shooting Victims’ Fund – currently $2,836,767.17 donated.

A Muslim in Dunedin wrote:

“I live in Dunedin and we have experienced nothing but kindness respect and understanding from everyone we have come into contact with.

I have lived here for three years and have many friends who have helped me to settle here.

Everyone is devastated by this terrible tragedy and it not only deeply saddens Muslims living here but all New Zealanders.

There are people everywhere who are misguided and full of hate. We must learn to love more and hate less. 

We respect all religions and cultures and all people’s regardless of their faith or belief May Allah have mercy for the people who lost their lives.”

We must learn to tolerate more, to love each other and to promote peaceful co-existence of our wide variety of cultures, ethnicities, nationalities and religions and beliefs.

Through adversity, a day of despicable terror in Christchurch, we are becoming better people and a better nation.

We Kiwis unite for a better, more peaceful world.

Worldwide coverage of Christchurch mosque massacres

On Saturday in Christchurch the man who is claimed to be largely or wholly responsible for the massacres in two mosques in Christchurch appeared in court, was charged with one count of murder (the police say more charges are pending), and was remanded in custody until another appearance due next month.

Otherwise there wasn’t a lot of new news from the scenes, with local media focussing on the impact on people who witnessed or affected by the killings.

But there seems have been a massive amount of international attention.

 

The use of social media platforms is under intense scrutiny.

There must be significant changes made at Facebook and other online platforms to address this issue. It is a difficult problem to deal with, but it must be.

One popular report:

The Ausies step up again: ODT:  Speaker banned from Aust after terror attack comments

Controversial far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos has been banned from entering Australia on tour after his remarks about the New Zealand terror attack.

The government had agreed to the visa after conservative MPs had put pressure on Mr Coleman to override the Department of Home Affairs’ advice to ban Mr Yiannopoulos.

“I’m banned from Australia, again, after a statement in which I said I abhor political violence,” Mr Yiannopoulos said on social media after the announcement on Saturday.

Mr Yiannopoulos had described Islam as a “barbaric, alien” religious culture on social media overnight after the terror incident, prompting the government’s change of heart.

Immigration Minister David Coleman released a statement on Saturday after backflipping on a decision to grant Mr Yiannopoulos a visa into the country.

“Milo Yiannopoulos will not be allowed to enter Australia for his proposed tour this year,” Mr Coleman said, after having granted him a visa a week ago.

“Mr Yiannopoulos’ comments on social media regarding the Christchurch terror attack are appalling and foment hatred and division.

“The terrorist attack in Christchurch was carried out on Muslims peacefully practising their religion. It was an act of pure evil.”

Yiannopoulos exercised his right to free speech. Australia exercised it’s right to admit or exclude whoever they like to their country. There can be consequences for saying reprehensible things.

There are other ridiculous arses around the world:

But most of the coverage i can see is horrified and sympathetic:

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush will speak to media Sunday at 9:30am to provide an update on the Christchurch terror attack.

Ardern statement – Saturday morning

More from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (edited) on numbers of deaths, arrests and charges, gun control, ongoing investigations, and support for those affected:


Statement from Jacinda Ardern on Christchurch mass shooting – 9am 16 March

A total now of 49 people have been killed – work is under way to confirm their identities as quickly as possible.

41 people died at Deans Avenue Mosque, 7 at the Linwood Avenue Mosque – and 1 person has since died in hospital.

Over 40 people are being treated for injuries at Christchurch hospital – they have all been identified and those names have been shared with members of the community.

Two of those are in critical condition and this includes a 5-year-old child who has been transported today to Starship Hospital in Auckland.

Three people have been arrested in relation to this event.

One Australian citizen will appear in court today charged with murder.

This individual has travelled around the world with sporadic periods of time spent in New Zealand. They were not a resident of Christchurch. In fact they were currently based in Dunedin.

Enquires are ongoing to establish whether the other two were directly involved with this incident.

The fourth person who was arrested yesterday was a member of the public who was in possession of a firearm, but with the intention of assisting police. They have since been released.

None of those apprehended had a criminal history either here, or in Australia. As I said last night, they were not on any watch lists either here, or in Australia.

I want to be very clear that our intelligence community and police are focused on extremism of every kind.

Given global indicators around far right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area.

The individual charged with murder had not come to the attention of the intelligence community nor the police for extremism.

I have asked our agencies this morning to work swiftly on assessing whether there was any activity on social media or otherwise that should have triggered a response. That work is already under way.

“I want to speak specifically about the firearms used in this terrorist act.”

I’m advised that there were five guns used by the primary perpetrator. There were two semi-automatic weapons, and two shotguns. The offender was in possession of a gun licence.

I’m advised that this was acquired of November 2017.

A lever action firearm was also found.

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

There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017.

Now is the time for change.

Too late for change in this case, and it will take time to work out what sort of changes will be made, but change looks inevitable.

There are obviously questions being asked of how this person was able to enter the country and undertake this act of terror.

I have instructed ODESC to report to Cabinet on Monday on this sequence of events with a view to strengthening our systems on a range of fronts including but not limited to, firearms, border controls, enhanced information sharing with Australia and any practical reinforcement of our watch list processes.

“I want to come now to what people can expect over the course of the day and beyond.”

The safety of New Zealanders is our highest priority.

New Zealand Police remain on high alert.

Christchurch residents are strongly urged to stay home if possible and stay safe. Please monitor the Police website and social media for further information.

If you see something suspicious then call 111 immediately.

A number of events are being held across the country today and there will be an increased Police presence.

Police have additional patrols out on the streets of Christchurch to reassure the community.

They have flown in 45 additional police staff to Christchurch with a further 80 staff arriving today.

The additional police staffing includes public safety teams, detectives, tactical specialists and intelligence support.

Staff from other DHBs have offered support as required.

There will be additional support provided in Christchurch for mental health and psychosocial needs.

 

Police are aware of distressing material relating to this event being online and are reminding people it is an offence to distribute objectionable material.

To recap:

Police immediately secured the areas involved and ensured that people were kept safe, including schools and offices being locked down.

Police made arrests swiftly and a man will appear in court this morning.

Defence specialists quickly moved to assist police to make the improvised explosive devices safe.

I want to make special mention of those who are involved in parts of the operation involving disarming devices and undertaking the arrests themselves.

Many of you may have seen the footage of the arrest and I can only describe it as an act of bravery on behalf of all New Zealanders and an act that showed very little regard for their own personal safety.

I’m sure everyone in New Zealand wants to acknowledge the police and particularly the officer who made that arrest yesterday.

I also want to acknowledge ambulance staff who many will have seen acting swiftly under horrific conditions and all medical staff who continue to work with those who are injured.

NZ Defence Force at Burnham Camp yesterday were put on standby to assist police in Christchurch.

Mosques around the country were provided with advice from police to help keep them secure and advised to remain closed. This advice continues as does the police presence at mosques around the country.

The national threat level was raised to high, which triggers a number of actions to help keep people safe, such as increased aviation and border security.

A number of specialist family liaison staff were deployed.

Close liaison has been established with the Muslim community and other key people in Christchurch.

Police and the wider government will be working with leaders and members of the Islamic Community to provide assistance, reassurance and support.

MFAT are acting as a liaison point for foreign governments – consular representation for any foreign nations involved has been provided. At this stage I understand those involved include Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

MFAT staff are dealing with offers of assistance, and are receiving a significant number of condolence messages.

Deputy Commissioner Maori and Ethnic Services Wally Haumaha has travelled to Christchurch, alongside 15 additional ethnic liaison officers to support the community.

These specialists will work alongside local staff to support the families involved.

They are assisting to repatriate them with their loved ones in a way that is consistent with Muslim beliefs, while taking into account these particular circumstances and obligations to the coroner.

“I want to finish by saying…”

…that while the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers.

After this media conference I will board a defence force plane and travel to Christchurch. I will have other political leaders with me including the Leader of the Opposition.

As is the entire nation, we are all unified in grieving together.


If anyone needs to speak to someone or if they are feeling distressed I encourage you to call or text 1737. There are extra staff available. That number is available to everyone.”

An 0800 number established to register missing persons – 0800 115019 – and a website, Restoring Family Links (RFL).

 

Jacinda Ardern on the Christchurch mosque massacres

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the mosque massacres in Christchurch on Friday as one of the darkest days in New Zealand history. She condemned the ideology and actions of the murders.

Her first statement yesterday:

Statement from Jacinda Ardern on Christchurch shootings

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed her horror at the events that are currently unfolding in Christchurch.

“This was an act of extraordinary and unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand.

“It is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.

“Many of the people affected by this act of extreme violence will be from our refugee and migrant communities.

“New Zealand is their home. They are us.

“The person or people who carried out this act of unprecedented violence are not.

“There is no place in our home for them.

“My thoughts, and I know all New Zealanders’ thoughts, are with those affected and with the people of Christchurch.

“To those who are in lockdown and separated from their families, stay safe and stay inside, follow instructions and be assured the police are actively managing the situation.”

Ardern’s second media appearance yesterday:

Further update from Jacinda Ardern on Christchurch mass shooting

“I have now had the opportunity to be fully briefed with the details of the unprecedented events that took place in Christchurch this afternoon,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Addressing the nation from the Beehive tonight, the Prime Minister said: It is with extreme sadness that I tell you that as at 7pm tonight, we believe that 40 people have lost their lives in this act of extreme violence.

10 have died at Linwood Avenue Mosque, 3 of which were outside the mosque itself.

A further 30 have been killed at Deans Avenue Mosque.

This has since been updated to 49 dead, 41 people at the Deans Avenue mosque, 7 at the Linwood Avenue mosque, and 1 person died in hospital from wounds received at one of the mosques.

There are also more than 20 seriously injured who are currently in Christchurch A&E.

It is clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack.

From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned. Two explosive devices attached to suspects’ vehicles have been found and they have been disarmed.

There are currently four individuals who have been apprehended but three are connected to this attack and are currently in custody, one of which has publicly stated that they were Australian born.

These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world.

While we do not have any reason to believe at this stage that there are other suspects, we are not assuming that at this stage. The joint intelligence group has been deployed and police are putting all of their resources into this situation.

The defence force are currently transporting additional police staff to the region.

Our national security threat level has been lifted from low, to high. This I want to assure people is to ensure that all our agencies are responding in the most appropriate way. That includes at our borders.

Air New Zealand has cancelled all turbo prop flights out of Christchurch tonight and will review the situation in the morning. Jet services both domestically and internationally are continuing to operate.

There is heightened security, so we can assure people of their safety and the police are working hard to ensure people are able to move around their city safely.

I have spoken this evening to the mayor of Christchurch and I intend to speak this evening to the imam, but I also want to send a message to those directly affected.

In fact, I am sure right now New Zealand would like me to share a message on their behalf too.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with those who have been impacted today. Christchurch was their home. For many, this may not have been the place they were born, in fact for many, New Zealand was their choice.

The place they actively came to, and committed to. The place they were raising their families. Where they were parts of communities that they loved and who loved them in return. It was a place that many came to for its safety. A place where they were free to practice their culture and their religion.

For those of you who are watching at home tonight, and questioning how this could have happened here.

We, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate.

We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism.

We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of those things.

Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion. A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who needs it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.

We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values. And the one that we place the currency on right now is our compassion and support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy.

And secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this.

You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you.

A lot of views of both those videos, and they were also live streamed by multiple media and parts shown around the world.

Ardern handled these very very well in very disturbing circumstances.


Jacinda Ardern:

“I spoke with Donald Trump this morning, he thought to call us directly. He very much wished for his condolences to be passed on to New Zealand”

“He asked what offer of support the United States could provide, my message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.”

Updates – 49 confirmed dead in Christchurch terrorist attacks

49 people have been confirmed dead as a result of two near simultaneous terrorist attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday. One Australian man has been arrested and charged with murder.  Another  man and a woman have also been apprehended. A fourth man was arrested but that was not related to the mosque massacres. Parts of a street in Dunedin has cordon off in a related investigation. Mosques around New Zealand are under police protection.

Military style rifles were used in the attacks, and two bombs were found on the vehicle of one of those who was apprehended.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush put out a number of updates on what had happened. Here is the latest from late last night.

Police continue to deal with what is an unprecedented event for New Zealand. The loss of life and the number of those who have been injured is tragic.

As the Prime Minister has stated, this has been designated a terrorist attack.

This has been an abhorrent event and my thoughts are with all of those affected in Christchurch. Be assured NZ Police stand with you all tonight.

We now know that 49 people have been killed in the attacks, 41 people at the Deans Avenue mosque, and seven at the Linwood Avenue mosque. One person died in hospital.

The number of those being treated in hospital has been updated to 48 people.

A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and is due to appear in the Christchurch District Court tomorrow morning.

Two others remain in custody. Another person was arrested earlier today however that was not related to these events.

This is still an ongoing situation and Police has a significant number of staff on the ground in Christchurch

We are unable at this stage to provide details about matters leading up to the attacks. It is very early days and these matters will form part of the investigation.

There is an increased Police presence across Christchurch and surrounding areas. Our priority is to keep all New Zealanders safe.

There are community events planned across the country this weekend and there will be a visible Police presence at these events for safety and reassurance.

We thank the public for their ongoing co-operation and we would like to reassure members of the public that a large Police presence will remain in the city for the time being. The safety of the community is our priority.

Police wish to notify the public of the Restoring Family Links (RFL) website(link is external) where people can register missing persons or register themselves as alive. People living in New Zealand can also register missing persons on 0800 115 019.

Information will continue to be provided as it becomes available.

Our thoughts remain with all of those affected.

And:

Police are currently in attendance at a property on Somerville Street, Dunedin. This is a location of interest in relation to the serious firearms incident in Christchurch today.

Evacuations of properties in the immediate area have taken place as a precaution.

Alternative accommodation has been provided for residents requiring it and cordons are in place in the Somerville Street and Everton Road area.

There is no further information available at this time.

From the police page on Facebook:

Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online. We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.

I don’t want any of this footage or links to the footage on Your NZ. One aim of the killings was to attract media attention and pub


Saturday morning: Update 9

We are continuing to make enquiries after yesterday’s tragic events in Christchurch.

As the Prime Minister stated yesterday, this has been designated a terrorist attack.

49 people have died and 42 are being treated for injuries. Two of those injured are critical and this includes a four-year-old child who is being transported to Starship Hospital this morning.

A 28-year-old man will appear in Christchurch District Court today charged with murder.

Two others remain in custody.

Our investigations are in their early stages and we will be looking closely to build a picture of any of the individuals involved and all of their activities prior to this horrific event.

There is no guarantee the risk is limited to Canterbury and we need all New Zealanders to be extra vigilant.

Our message to you is simple: if you see something suspicious, say something – call 111 immediately.

Police is aware there are distressing materials related to this event circulating widely online. We would urge anyone who has been affected by seeing these materials to seek appropriate support.

We would also like to remind the public that it is an offence to distribute an objectionable publication and that is punishable by imprisonment.

Once again I want to reassure the public that a large Police presence remains in the city for the time being.

There will be a heightened Police presence at community events today for safety and reassurance.

Dozens of officers continue to be deployed into the region today, and Police’s Eagle helicopter has flown to Christchurch to assist those on the ground.

Police and the wider government will be working with leaders and members of the Islamic Community to provide assistance, reassurance and support.

Deputy Commissioner of Māori and Ethnic Services Wally Haumaha has travelled to Christchurch alongside 15 ethnic liaison officers to support the community.

These specialists will work alongside local staff to support the families and help repatriate them with their loved ones in a way that is consistent with Muslim beliefs, while taking into account these circumstances and obligations to the coroner.

I also plan to fly to Christchurch this morning, and will be speaking to media at the earliest opportunity. More detail on that will be advised in due course.

Again I want to offer my sincere condolences to those affected, on behalf of New Zealand Police.

Presuming more updates are released they will be added to this post today.

From Update 11:

The 28-year-old man charged with murder in relation to this attack has appeared in Christchurch District Court this morning.

While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid. Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

Mosque attack in Egypt

The blight of terrorism continues.

Independent:  Egypt mosque attack: Death toll rises to 235, the deadliest terrorist atrocity in the country’s modern history

The death toll in a militant attack on a mosque in Egypt’s north Sinai region has risen to 235, Egyptian state television reported, quoting the public prosecutor.

Militants targeted members of Egypt’s security forces attending Friday prayers at the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, near Arish city.

They opened fire from four off-road vehicles on worshippers inside the mosque during the sermon, blocking off escape routes from the area by blowing up cars and leaving the burning wrecks blocking the roads, three police officers on the scene said.

Resident Ashraf el-Hefny said many of the victims were workers at a nearby salt firm who had come for Friday services at the mosque, which had contained some 300 worshippers.

Targeting innocent people at prayer is a crap sort of thing to do.

President Sissi condemned the extremist attack on a mosque in the troubled Sinai Peninsula, calling it “criminal” and “cowardly” and expressing condolences to the victims and their families.

Cowards.

Anti-Israel speech in Auckland mosque

Stuff reports:  Calls to expel Iran diplomat from NZ after fiery anti-Israel speech ‘fuels radicalism’

An Iranian diplomat has been accused of fuelling radicalism with a fiery, anti-Israel speech at an Auckland mosque.

Jewish community leaders want Hormoz Ghahremani, first secretary of the Iranian Embassy, to be expelled after he appeared alongside speakers who denied the Holocaust and called for the “surgical removal” of Israel.

In his speech, Ghahremani said Israel was trying to “deceive the world” by pretending to be an advocate of peace when in fact it was fuelling terrorism and extremism in the Middle East to divert attention from the Palestine issue.

Muslim nations needed to unite against “the anti-human regime of Israel and discern their common enemy with profound insight”, he said.

He said Quds Day was established “to deal a powerful punch to the mouth of the cancerous tumour known as evil Israel,” and cited Imam Khomeini as saying that “if every Muslim were to spit in the face of Israel, Israel would drown”.

The annihilation of the “Zionist regime” had begun, he said, and Israel would not last for another 25 years.

Community elder Sayed Taghi Derhami, a Mt Albert accountant, told attendees at the event that Israel was a “cancerous gland” that had to be “surgically removed”.

It’s good to see this exposed, but sad to see this sort of divisive rhetoric in New Zealand.

Members of the Jewish community say it’s outrageous that the representative of a foreign Government should make such comments. The speech was in June but has only just come to light.

Ghahremani told Stuff he agreed the speech could be seen as inflammatory, but it had to be taken in the context of the event at which it was given. He spoke at a gathering to mark the annual Quds Day, initiated by Iran in the 1970s to support Palestinians and oppose Zionism.

Contacted at the Iranian Embassy in Wellington, Ghahremani said his speech was supposed to be private and he was upset it had been put on the internet. “It was something private, a small gathering. I was there to reflect the position of the Iranian Government.

“We do not recognise the Israeli Government, that’s not a secret. But we are not against their existence.”

A small private gathering – but it is still inflammatory and divisive language. Someone saw a need to make it public – good on them.

But it needs to be remembered that that is just a small minority. Coincidentally:

News this weekend of the aggressively-worded speeches comes after rallies against racism. New Green MP Golriz Ghahraman denounced racism at a rally in front of Parliament on Saturday.

Extreme rhetoric comes from different minority groups.

Ghahraman, who came to NZ from Iran as a refugee as a child, said on Saturday night that she was concerned that racist rhetoric was becoming more common place in mainstream New Zealand politics. ​”We are seeing this insidious racism creep into the mainstream,” she warned. “It’s important to note the Holocaust was the most harrowing of crimes against humanity.”

Unsurprisingly Israelis are unhappy with the speeches.

Juliet Moses, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Council, said the fact an Iran Government representative was making such inflammatory statements was concerning. “It’s not a great surprise in one sense, because statements like this come from Iranian leaders all the time, but when those words are being spoken in New Zealand it’s a very different matter,” she explained.

“What audience is being spoken to here and what are they believing and what messages are they taking from that? Clearly Islamist terrorism is becoming more frequent in Western countries, and Jews are essentially at the coalface.”

Moses said she hoped the Government would investigate and take action against Ghahremani. “Expulsion might be an option.”

Expulsion is always an option, but I don’t know if it is justified in this case.