content warning: Islamophobia, violence, death
On March 15, during Friday (Jummah) prayers, a gunman opened fire on worshippers at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. The shooter live streamed the terrorist attack on his Facebook account. He then drove five kilometres to Linwood Mosque, where he carried out a second shooting. In total, 49 people were murdered.
Local police arrested three people on suspicion of possession of firearms. Weapons were found at both mosques and explosives were found in cars. A twenty eight-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with the attacks.
Before the first shooting, a 16,000 word unsigned manifesto was posted on Twitter and 8chan. The document expresses severe anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments as well as white supremacist ideology, and includes plans for the attacks. The same Twitter account, now deleted, posted pictures of weapons and protective gear painted with the names of other mass shooters who have carried out Islamophobic and anti-immigrant attacks, as well as a neo-Nazi symbol. In the live stream and in the manifesto, the shooter listed other white nationalists and white supremacists, some of whom have also committed mass shootings and terrorist attacks on racialized communities, as sources of inspiration for his own attack.
The gunman was clear in his Islamophobic, racist, and extremist intentions. His decision to open fire during Jummah prayers is also a deliberate and targeted one, as midday Friday prayers are sacred and significant in Islam.
There is a fund for the victims’ families on LaunchGood. Funds will be distributed by The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre. The New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups has also set up a donation fund, which can be found on our website.