On 15 March 2019 Christchurch was subject to a terrorist attack by a gunman and possible accomplices. Over the course of the attack, the gunman shot and killed 50 people. A further 42 were injured and at the time of writing this about 36 were still in hospital.
The attack happened in two stages at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue, and at Linwood Islamic Centre on Linwood Avenue. Prior to the attack the gunman played military music which continued as he entered the Al Noor Mosque and started shooting at around 1340 hours local time. He left Al Noor Mosque after about 6 minutes and continued shooting outside, before driving away at speed towards Linwood Islamic Centre. The gunman continued shooting there. He then started driving towards a third Mosque, during which the Police intercepted him. They rammed his car, forcing it to stop and arrested him. The car was found to have bombs in it, which the gunman was not able to detonate.
The five articles that will follow over the next several days will focus on:
- The implications for the New Zealand intelligence and surveillance programme
- The implications for firearms legislation (including the changes already announced)
- Supporting our Muslim community and individual victims
- Judicial overhaul and the need to revisit terrorism legislation
- Consequences for New Zealand’s foreign policy
This was an attack on the very values that New Zealand stands for. Unlike other terrorist attacks, such as the French Government sinking the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, the Christchurch attack was made by a person with extreme hatred of society. New Zealand and ultimate Christchurch was not attacked because we were conducting a war or other military activity that he disagreed with. Nor were we attacked for inflicting violence on a particular community or people. Nor were we attacked for discrimination or other xenophobic conduct.
New Zealand was attacked because in his eyes our crime was that we were NOT waging active war on Muslims.