A mass shooting occurred in New Zealand at two mosques, and it is declared the worst in New Zealand’s history.
Al Jazerra reports:
At least 49 people have been killed and more than 40 others wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, after a gunman opened indiscriminate fire at worshippers, some as they were kneeling at prayer.
The mosques targeted in Friday’s attack, the worst mass shooting in the country’s history, were the Masjid Al Noor in central Christchurch and another place of worship in the suburb of Linwood. Women and children were among those killed.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called this a “terrorist attack”. The shooter, Branton Tarrant, has been described as a white nationalist Australian with anti-Muslim views.
The Financial Times reports:
At least 49 were killed in an attack on two New Zealand mosques on Friday by a gunman the authorities said professed white nationalist views, in the deadliest case of rightwing terrorism since 77 people were murdered in 2011 by an anti-Muslim extremist in Norway.
A 28-year-old Australian has been charged with murder in Christchurch. A manifesto by a man claiming responsibility for the shootings said he had been inspired by Anders Breivik’s 2011 Norway attack and a 2015 shooting of a black church in South Carolina that killed nine.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” said Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, adding that two others were also being held. “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.”
It’s highly doubtful that such an attack would be considered terrorism in the U.S, especially under the current administration. More on that later.
The attack was livestreamed on Facebook and appeared on YouTube and Twitter. WLWT Cincinnati reports:
One of the shooters appears to have livestreamed the attack on Facebook. The disturbing video, which has not been verified by CNN, ran for nearly 17 minutes and purportedly shows the gunman walking into a mosque and opening fire.
“New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video,” Mia Garlick, Facebook’s director of policy for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.
Facebook declined further comment on when exactly it took down the video.
This ignited the news media commentators to condemn social media sites for allowing the far-right to use their platforms to spread their hate. Muddassar Ahmed of the USA Today expresses outrage at the tech giants for not intervening properly to prevent right wing extremism:
It is time for counter-terrorism specialists to move into the offices of social media giants. This horrific attack on peaceful worshipers at prayer is drenched in alt-right internet culture. Facebook, Google and Twitter need to take ownership of this crisis. For too long they’ve allowed hate to circulate effectively unchecked online; they seem overwhelmed by this problem and their feeble measures have not had the desired impact. But those facts do not exonerate them. In fact, it makes them part of the problem.
Let’s be clear, social media is the lifeblood of the far-right. The fact that a terror attack was livestreamed should tell us that this is a unique form for violence made for the digital era. The infrastructure of social media giants is not merely ancillary to the operations of terrorists — it is central to it. And, as a former United Kingdom government adviser on anti-Muslim hatred, I am fully aware that social media giants assume a huge responsibility to prevent and stop hate speech proliferating on the internet.
Speaking of which and relating back to the current regime, Donald Trump deleted a tweet linking to an article published by conservative news site Breitbart where he was interviewed. CBS News reports:
President Trump deleted a tweet Friday linking to the conservative Breitbart News featuring an interview in which he suggested his supporters could “play it tough” if need be. The deletion came after the terror attack thatat mosques in New Zealand.
The tweet was deleted mid-morning, according to analysis using the Internet archiving system Wayback Machine. Mr. Trump hadn’t linked directly to the interview with him, but to Breitbart’s homepage, which had prominently featured the interview at the time. The interview took place and was posted before the attack.
Breitbart has been known as a platform for white nationalism.
Right away, my heart and prayers go out to Muslim communities all over the world – especially in New Zealand – affected by this senseless tragedy. This demonstrates with certainty how far hate can go.
What are your thoughts on this, because I as usual, I don’t have any.
Keep an eye on the news for up-to-the-minute updates.