• Sharin Hussain

New Zealand: Love, Loss & Change

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, executed immediate changes to their gun laws after a mass shooting that occurred on 15th March 2019 at two different mosques in Christchurch during their Islamic Friday prayer.

The gunman attacked the first mosque, Al Noor Mosque, at 1.41pm and also live-streamed the vicious act on Facebook live. Cunningly, the shooter also sent out a 72-page manifesto of his plans for the shooting and why he did it to the New Zealand Parliament by email, around 44 seconds before he began shooting. At 1.46pm, Police Officers arrived on the scene, with First Responders arriving at 1.51pm. At this point, the shooter leaves the first mosque and drives for six minutes to get to the second location, Linwood Mosque where he shoots seven people dead. He was only in there for 3 minutes. At 1.59pm, police reprimanded the suspect after they were flagged down by a public who noticed shooting at Linwood Mosque.

In the space of 18 minutes, the gunman killed fifty people and injured fifty more others. How could such a malicious act be done so meticulously? The gunman, who deserves no recognition and his name shall not be mentioned, had a firearms license which allowed him to freely purchase guns and use at his disposal.

After the terrorist act, New Zealand was quick to ban semi-automatic, military-style weapons less than a week after the attack. The community united with Jacinda Ardern leading by wearing the Islamic headscarf when she went to visit the attacked mosques. The world watched as New Zealand’s news reporters also adorned the scarf to show their respect. The Islamic call to prayer, the Azaan, was broadcasted the following Friday after the attack to show respect and a 2 minutes silence was held as well at Hagley Park.

Since the video was live-streamed, it was circulating the web which many people thought was wrong as it was already such a heart-breaking and upsetting situation and the victims’ families wouldn’t appreciate the constant sharing of their family members’ death. A following six people were arrested for sharing the live-streamed videos of the terrorist attack, linking to hate crimes, with one adding ‘target acquired’.

However, whilst the news spread across the globe quickly, not everyone was happy to unite and support the Muslim victims. In the UK only, there were several attacks made to other mosques, not to the extent that occurred in New Zealand but these criminals were brave. These attacks weren’t given enough media platform to show that we may unite on one situation but it all depends on how much media coverage it gets. Other religious locations were also attacked in America, such as the arson attack on a Church in Louisiana and perhaps it has nothing to do with this attack but it’s upsetting to see that hate crimes are constantly happening.

In America alone, it is reported by investigative magazine, Mother Jones, that there have been more than 90 mass shootings since 1982. That’s an estimated 2-3 shooting every year and as this year has proved, it has exceeded to over 307 mass shootings in November 2018, reported by the Business Insider. It took just a week for gun laws to change in New Zealand, and that fight needs to continue in other countries, especially in America where the act of gun violence is nearly a daily occurrence.

It is time to make a change. Rally and fight against gun violence because if change doesn’t happen now then more lives will be lost. It’s time to put the guns away and pick up the banner to march against hate crimes and fight the government to change gun policies.

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