We at LAPP, mourn bitterly for all victims that lost their lives at the Mosque shootings in New Zealand today. We pray Allah, grants them all the highest level of Paradise.
49 people were shot and killed at their place of worship on Friday March 15 – during Friday prayer. A terrorist attack on two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand. 41 people were found dead in the Al Noor Mosque and seven at Linwood Mosque, one victim died at Christchurch hospital. 48 people were announced injured by the chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Department. They are all suffering from gunshot wounds and have varied from critical to minor condition. Children were also affected. These statistics only apply to those admitted to the Christchurch Hospital. There are other people suffering from injuries in other hospitals.
Three men and one woman have been detained on behalf of this attack.
- One man in his late 20’s has been detained and charged with murder. He will be seen in court on Saturday 16th March. He was found in a vehicle, fleeing the premises. In that vehicle, officials say there were two explosive devices found in the car.
- Three other people were detained and it’s rumored that one might have no involvement in the case.
The people that were taken into custody have been said to not be on any security watch lists. One has been identified as Australian by the Australian Prime Minister. Committing crimes in a country you are not from is not the move!
Social media could have potentially prevented these attacks but due to the diligence performed by the owners of social media platforms, it was not. Hours before the attack was demonstrated, an 87-page manifesto was released on both Twitter and 8Chan. This manifesto was filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim ideas. Twitter responded on their Twitter Safety account and issued that they are working in “close coordination with New Zealand law enforcement to help in their investigation.”
SOCIAL MEDIA’S ROLE
A live video made from a Facebook account was made as the attack was going on. Facebook also issued a response saying that they tried to remove all content after the New Zealand Police Department alerted them about the attack. the 17 minute video was shared on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram just over an hour of its release. The original account the video came from was immediately taken down, but the damage had been done. To those who had time on their hands to edit the video and white nationalist manifesto, so the system couldn’t track it, you should be ashamed of yourself. Spreading such gruesome videos and xenophobic ideologies should have serious repercussions.
Social media platforms need to take accountability for their lack of policing and make active efforts to improve what is spread and released on their platforms. This is not the first time an attack has gone viral and they did not shut it down. Why did the police department have to let Facebook know what is happening on their platform? It is hard to go against the sheer essence of social media, which is making things go viral quickly, but there needs to be some accountability taken and this needs to become top priority.
The prime minister of New Zealand has called this an “unprecedented act of violence,” and this hate-filled act of xenophobia should ring alarms to every nation. New Zealand is not a country where extreme hate crimes have subsided in. Radical views and narratives are spreading, and if no serious consequences for terrorist attacks occur, then this could potentially keep happening.
We feel deeply for the families of the victims and those who witnessed attacks occur in their place of refuge. If you would like to help those who have been affected, there is a crowdfunding campaign going around.
*Update March 16, 2019:
– The death toll has increased to 50 along with 50 injured.
– The suspect has been identified as 28-year-old, Australian, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, and he has been charged with murder.
– Authorities found an 87-page manifesto of Tarrant’s filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim messages.
Written by Tolu Martins
Credit featured photo: ABC/ Mark Baker/Associated Press