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

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Muslims throughout New Zealand — contributors of a small, carefully knit group of about 50,000 — have been suffering to be told on Friday whether or not their family members have been a few of the sufferers of an assault on two mosques within the town of Christchurch.

“Nobody’s answering their phones,” stated Nasreen Hanif, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand, which is based totally in Auckland, an 85-minute flight from Christchurch. “We don’t know if they’re at the hospital or out of reach. Some have posted that they are safe, but others have not.”

She stated one set of fogeys used to be ready to listen to from their son, who had now not been noticed.

“They were supposed to have lunch with him after prayers,” she stated. It used to be all over Friday Prayer that the 2 mosques have been attacked by means of no less than one gunman. The names of sufferers have now not been launched.

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Late Friday, our bodies remained within the two mosques, in the back of a police cordon, and dozens of other people have been being handled at Christchurch Hospital.

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

For Muslims in New Zealand and in another country, the bloodbath drew each unhappiness and outrage — it used to be a criminal offense and a tragedy, but additionally, within the eyes of many, a brazen act of hatred borne from years of anti-Muslim sentiment.

Officials in different Muslim-majority international locations — together with Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan — condemned the assaults as a byproduct of racist and spiritual prejudice.

The Indonesian overseas minister, Retno Marsudi, emphasised the horror of shootings’ going on all over Friday Prayer.

A spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey known as the assaults “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 must break its silence over Islamophobic hatred.”

Muslim leaders throughout New Zealand, alternatively, wired that the assaults have been out of personality for the rustic, a spot lots of them related to peace.

“Muslims have been in New Zealand for a long time, and Muslims have never had any issues in New Zealand,” stated Ibrar Sheikh, the secretary of a mosque in Auckland, Al Mustafa Jamia Masjid. “Just because one or two individuals have taken this stand, it doesn’t mean there is an attack on people living in New Zealand.”

He stated that the deaths would have an effect on Muslims around the nation. “Everybody knew each other,” he stated, including that were not able to touch buddies who had worshiped on the Christchurch mosques on Friday.

The two mosques attacked in Christchurch have been, like maximum mosques in New Zealand, “a United Nations” of ethnicities, Mr. Sheikh stated, quite than webhosting worshipers from any explicit ethnic staff.

The first Muslims to reach in New Zealand — an Anglo-Indian circle of relatives — landed in Christchurch in 1854. Larger-scale Muslim immigration started within the 1970s, with the arriving of households and scholars from the Pacific islands. The area of Canterbury, which incorporates Christchurch, has been a space of stable expansion.

According to Abdullah Drury, a pupil who finished a historical past of Muslim migration in New Zealand two years in the past, the Muslim inhabitants in Canterbury reached some extent in 1977 the place a proper affiliation may well be registered and arrange. The staff arrange the primary Muslim position of prayer on New Zealand’s South Island in Christchurch 3 years later.

Muslim migration sped up within the 1990s and 2000s with immigration from war-torn international locations like Iraq and Afghanistan. In a rustic of just about 5 million, greater than 46,000 other people establish as Muslim, in keeping with the 2013 census, up just about 30 % from 2006.

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

Now, Ms. Hanif stated, an in depth group will have to grow to be even nearer: Both mosques that have been attacked on Friday had already reached out to invite for lend a hand with funeral preparations.

Ms. Ardern, the top minister, famous that lots of the sufferers have been immigrants.

“For many this may not have been the place they were born,” she stated. “For many, New Zealand was their choice, the place that they chose to come to and committed themselves to, the place they chose to raise their families.”

Ms. Ardern added that New Zealand had now not been a goal as it used to be a protected harbor for hatred, racism or extremism.

“We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things,” she stated. “Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it. Those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.”


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