On March 15th, 2019, two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, were targeted in two mass shootings. These heinous acts of Islamophobia left dozens of people dead and dozens more injured. And in the wake of this tragedy, world leaders are speaking out in condemnation of hate.
According to CNN, at least 49 people have died in the New Zealand mosque shootings so far, and 48 others have been admitted to the hospital. The victims were involved in daily prayers at the time of the massacre, and young children were among those injured. The New Zealand Herald notes that the shootings are tied for the country’s worst mass killing, along with the Featherston war riots of 1943. Three men and one women were arrested in the wake of the shootings, but so far, only one man has been charged with murder in connection to the crime.
BBC News reports that the primary suspect live-streamed one of the attacks, and in the video, he identifies himself as an Australian in his late 20s. Before the shootings, he reportedly posted a manifesto online, in which he “espoused far right and anti-immigrant ideology.” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke out against the attacks on Twitter, calling the tragedy “an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence.”
Other world leaders also stepped in to call for unity and condemn hatred—especially white supremacy. Former president Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among those who stood with the Muslim community.
President Donald Trump sent his “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to the victims of the attacks.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the attacks and wrote “our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted that the New Zealand mosque shootings reaffirmed “that terrorism does not have a religion.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote that “Israel mourns the wanton murder of innocent worshippers in Christchurch.”
Other world leaders weighed in, too.
Our hearts are breaking for the people of Christchurch right now. We stand with the Muslim community and will continue to fight hatred in all of its forms.