New Zealand Muslims Await Word From Mosque Attacks: ‘Everybody Knew Each Other’ – News


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Muslims throughout New Zealand — members of a small, intently knit neighborhood of about 50,000 — have been struggling to be taught on Friday whether or not their family members have been among the many victims of an assault on two mosques within the metropolis of Christchurch.

“No person’s answering their telephones,” stated Nasreen Hanif, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Ladies’s Council of New Zealand, which is predicated in Auckland, an 85-minute flight from Christchurch. “We don’t know in the event that they’re on the hospital or out of attain. Some have posted that they’re protected, however others haven’t.”

She stated one set of fogeys was ready to listen to from their son, who had not been seen.

“They have been imagined to have lunch with him after prayers,” she stated. It was throughout Friday Prayer that the 2 mosques have been attacked by at the very least one gunman. The names of victims haven’t been launched.

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Late Friday, bodies remained in the two mosques, behind a police cordon, and dozens of people were being treated at Christchurch Hospital.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern branded the killings a “well-planned” terrorist attack.

For Muslims in New Zealand and abroad, the massacre drew both sadness and outrage — it was a crime and a tragedy, but also, in the eyes of many, a brazen act of hatred borne from years of anti-Muslim sentiment.

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Officials in several Muslim-majority countries — including Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan — condemned the attacks as a byproduct of racist and religious prejudice.

The Indonesian foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, emphasized the horror of shootings’ occurring during Friday Prayer.

A spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey called the attacks “racist and fascist.”

“This cowardly act shows how anti-Muslim rhetoric and hatred leads to murderous acts,” the spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, wrote on Twitter. “The world should break its silence over Islamophobic hatred.”

Muslim leaders throughout New Zealand, nonetheless, pressured that the assaults have been out of character for the nation, a spot lots of them related to peace.

“Muslims have been in New Zealand for a very long time, and Muslims have by no means had any points in New Zealand,” stated Ibrar Sheikh, the secretary of a mosque in Auckland, Al Mustafa Jamia Masjid. “Simply because one or two people have taken this stand, it doesn’t imply there’s an assault on individuals residing in New Zealand.”

He stated that the deaths would have an effect on Muslims throughout the nation. “All people knew one another,” he stated, including that had been unable to contact buddies who had worshiped on the Christchurch mosques on Friday.

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The 2 mosques attacked in Christchurch have been, like most mosques in New Zealand, “a United Nations” of ethnicities, Mr. Sheikh stated, reasonably than internet hosting worshipers from any explicit ethnic group.

The primary Muslims to reach in New Zealand — an Anglo-Indian household — landed in Christchurch in 1854. Bigger-scale Muslim immigration started within the 1970s, with the arrival of households and college students from the Pacific islands. The area of Canterbury, which incorporates Christchurch, has been an space of regular development.

In line with Abdullah Drury, a scholar who accomplished a historical past of Muslim migration in New Zealand two years in the past, the Muslim inhabitants in Canterbury reached a degree in 1977 the place a proper affiliation might be registered and arrange. The group arrange the primary Muslim place of prayer on New Zealand’s South Island in Christchurch three years later.

Muslim migration accelerated within the 1990s and 2000s with immigration from war-torn international locations like Iraq and Afghanistan. In a rustic of practically 5 million, greater than 46,000 individuals determine as Muslim, in response to the 2013 census, up practically 30 p.c from 2006.

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Analysis exhibits that almost all of Muslims in New Zealand are Sunni, with a big minority Shia and a few Ahmadi Muslims.

Now, Ms. Hanif stated, a detailed neighborhood should grow to be even nearer: Each mosques that have been attacked on Friday had already reached out to ask for assist with funeral preparations.

Ms. Ardern, the prime minister, famous that most of the victims have been immigrants.

“For a lot of this will not have been the place they have been born,” she stated. “For a lot of, New Zealand was their alternative, the place that they selected to return to and dedicated themselves to, the place they selected to boost their households.”

Ms. Ardern added that New Zealand had not been a goal as a result of it was a protected harbor for hatred, racism or extremism.

“We have been chosen for the actual fact that we’re none of these items,” she stated. “As a result of we characterize variety, kindness, compassion, a house for many who share our values, refuge for many who want it. These values is not going to and can’t be shaken by this assault.”


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