A terror attack on two mosques’ in Christchurch, New Zealand, has claimed forty-nine lives and has injured more than twenty people as the attacker live streamed the hate-crime on Facebook.
The footage shows him firing at men, women and children inside the Al-Noor mosque.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern said it was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
A man in his late twenties has been charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning, the police have confirmed.
Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, Ruth Smeeth, offered her ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the victims, their friends and family. In a tweet she wrote:
“We’ve awoken today to devastating scenes in Christchurch. This is the embodiment of evil, a terror attack at a place of worship. There are no words to express our horror but our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their friends, family and the people of New Zealand.”
Hate crimes against Muslims have become increasingly common.
Tell Mama, an organisation which works on tackling anti-Muslim hatred, produced a report in 2017 where they found a 26% increase in attacks against Muslims.
Dr Fahid Qurashi, a lecturer in Sociology at Staffordshire University said:
“Islamophobia is a serious problem. In Britain it manifests in everyday society (violence on the streets) and in institutions (such as health and education) and has become a particular problem since the introduction of the Prevent Strategy.”
Islamophobia affects Muslims in all areas of life, whether it be violence, harassment, intimidation, micro-aggressions, denial of opportunities (e.g. education and employment) and the denial of an Islamic identity.
Three out of five Muslims have been victims of hate crimes.
Dr Qurashi added:
“Its purpose is to homogenise all Muslims as the same whilst constructing non-Muslims as individual humans.
“Raise awareness about it (Islamophobia), speak about it, challenge it when they see it.”