Mosque attack prompts clampdown on extremism

Jacinda Ardern: New Zealand’s prime minister says she will make it harder to buy guns.

Who is to blame for the terror attack which took place in New Zealand last week? The world is still mourning the deaths of 50 Muslims who were killed during Friday Prayer.

What’s happening

“Hello, brother,” said 71-year-old Daoud Nabi moments before he was killed at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was one of 50 people to die in a terror attack on two of the city’s mosques last Friday. It was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” said the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern.

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Friday is a special day in Islam, when Muslims gather to pray. This meant the mosques were full of people. Men, women and children were all killed.

There were heroes to be found amid the horror. A father named Abdul Aziz chased the attacker away from the second mosque, throwing a credit card machine at him. The mosque’s imam said Aziz had saved many lives.

A suspect has been now arrested and charged with murder.

It appears that he held many racist and Islamophobic beliefs. He wrote online about the false idea that Muslims are “invaders” trying to “replace” white people in Western countries. This is not true. In fact, hate crimes against Muslims and immigrants are increasing around the world.

Who is to blame for this latest attack?

Some say…

The man who did the killing must take all of the blame. It takes a special kind of evil to walk into a place of worship and kill people while they pray. That is why millions of people have offered love and support to New Zealand, and to Muslim communities all around the world. Thankfully, these kinds of horrible events are still extremely rare.

Others think…

No one else made him do it, but we are all responsible for fighting Islamophobia. Sadly, many Muslims face smaller forms of discrimination every day. There are things that we can all do to help stop this. For example, you can stand up for Muslims if you see them being bullied for their religion — or correct anyone who spreads lies about Muslims.

You Decide

  1. Have you ever witnessed Islamophobia? What can be done to stop it?

Activities

  1. As a class, take it in turns to list things that you know or have heard about Islam. Discuss them with your teacher: are any of them untrue?

Some People Say...

“New Zealand is their home — they are us.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, discussing the attack’s victims

What do you think?

Word Watch

Mosque
A Muslim place of worship.
Terror attack
A violent attack which is intended to scare people, or for political reasons
Islam
The world’s second-largest religion.
Imam
A Muslim religious leader.
Suspect
A person who is believed to have committed a crime.
Islamophobic
Hating Muslims or thinking that they are dangerous people.
Hate crimes
When people carry out crimes because they hate a certain group (such as a religion or race)
Discrimination
When people are treated unfairly

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