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Mar 15, 2019 | Europe

New Zealand In Shock After Dozens Killed

By RFI
TVNZ/via REUTERS TV
TVNZ/via REUTERS TV

New Zealand is in shock after attacks on two mosques in Christchurch left dozens dead. The death toll has reached 49 and is expected to climb. At least 20 people were injured. Prime minister Jacinda Arden said this is a "terrorist attack" and one of the country's "darkest-days". Police have charged one man with murder.

Police have identified one gunman who the authorities describe as an Australian-born right-wing extremist.

Witnesses say that victims were shot at close range at the Masjid al Noor Mosque in the centre of Christchurch, the second attack took place at Linwood Avenu, five kilometres away.

Two explosive devices were also found and neutralised by the military, police said.

Police have warned Muslims all over the country not to visit mosques anywhere in New Zealand.

Christchurch city council offered a helpline for parents looking for kids attending a mass climate change rally nearby.

The Bangladesh cricket team all escaped without injury. They had been in Christchurch for a test match against New Zealand that was later cancelled

A spokesman said the attack happened as some of players got off a team bus and were about to enter the mosque.

The last census in New Zealand in 2013, counted just over 46,000 Muslims in New Zealand, one percent of the total population.

Sense of community

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sought to reassure the country's Muslims after the Christchurch attack. She said, "We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values. 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."

Mustafa Farouk, president of the Islamic Associations of New Zealand, was all the more shocked because he said the community feels that,"we are living in the safest country in the world, we never expected anything like this could happen".

However a 2010 survey by Victoria University's Research Applied Cross-cultural Research Centre had found Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan and Indonesia face more negative attitudes than those from other Asian countries like China and the Philippines.

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