DChristchurch's Al-Nur Mosque is not a building that stands out. A white building with a golden dome and minaret and a large parking lot in front.
Although Muslims are very much in the minority in New Zealand, the Deans Avenue mosque, a rather quiet street, has become accustomed to the third largest city in the Pacific.
This Friday, however, just before 1:45 pm, the congregation is gathering for the usual Friday prayers, about 300 people, a heavily armed man marching towards the church. Later it is announced that it comes from Australia. On the helmet, the 28-year-old has a camera that shoots everything
In his hands he holds a rapid fire weapon, to which a bulletproof vest has been tied. He cut the tips of his gloves. Then open fire. In the video, with which he transfers his action on the Internet, one hears a march towards the shots. Like a shooting game, but in reality.
What happens in the next few minutes, you shouldn't describe it. You really don't have to do this favor to a multiple murderer. But one thing is certain: there will be nothing like the normality at Christchurch's Al-Nur Mosque for a long time. The bodies of 41 people are now on the green carpet and in the corridors. The last victim is a woman who is already in the sewer.
While the man gets back in the car, with the helmet camera on his head, the ride is over. Now it's a song by Arthur Brown from 1968: "Fire". The first line: "I am the God of Hellfire. And I will bring you: Fuoco." Apart from the incredible cruelty, the staging is synonymous with cynicism.
Other weapons the man has in his trunk include "Kebab Remover" and the name of a girl who died in a terrorist attack in Sweden in 2017. The network also circulates a "manifesto" of 74 pages in which it is assumed that the perpetrator of the offense expresses his reasons for the act. It also contains extremist right-wing slogans, and the author points out that he wants to create a "climate of fear". He describes himself as someone of the working class. The authenticity of the poster has not yet been demonstrated. The police did not comment on this.
For New Zealand, this is one of the worst actions in recent history. The last fury is here almost a quarter of a century back. In 1990 a man shot 13 people. But something like this has never happened before. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks of "darkest days". He says of Muslim victims: "New Zealand was their home. They should have felt safe here." They weren't.
Especially since then we also know that in a second mosque, a few streets down, seven other people were shot. As this is connected, you don't even know it after many hours. Asked if all this was coordinated, lead investigator Mike Bush said: "We have no information on this."
Reproach of multiple murder
One thing is certain: three suspects are arrested – including the man from the Al-Nur mosque. In a video you can see how the officials drag him out of his car, a white SUV, and force him to the ground. This Saturday he will be presented to a judge for multiple homicide. His name is not the police.
However, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirms that he is an Australian. He calls him a "violent extreme right-wing terrorist". The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Ardern, also classifies the act as a "terrorist attack" directed against people of other faiths. In New Zealand, there is only a small minority of Muslim faith: about 50,000, many immigrants from countries like Pakistan or Bangladesh.
In the investigation of the attacks, the police evacuated a residential area in the city of Dunedin, 350 kilometers away. Residents near a house have been brought to safety as a precautionary measure, police said. The house is in connection with the "interest" survey, they say. Further details are not mentioned.
When the day ends in Christchurch, the Pacific state is twelve hours ahead of Germany – the two mosques are still isolated. 48 people have gunshot wounds in various hospitals, including small children. You don't know if everyone will pass. For fear of further attacks, the clinics were temporarily closed to visitors, as were schools and other public buildings. Now families and friends are allowed again.
WELT correspondent Anke Richter reported on WELT television in a telephone switch directly from Christchurch. He recalled the serious earthquake eight years ago: "The state of emergency, the shock, the people who are approaching, who cannot believe what happened to everyone here, but above all to the Muslim community".
Everything was still in the city: the evening concerts had been canceled, the children had to bear in part until six in their schools. So far, New Zealand has been a country without terror, the country has never experienced an attack on its soil. The apparently extreme right-wing attack shocked people, especially since so far there have been no problems with Muslims: "Here we have no refugee crisis".
The mayor of the city, Lianne Dalziel, summarizes the state of mind: "Everyone is shocked. I never would have thought that such a thing could happen here." At the parliament building in Wellington, the capital, they put the flag in the middle of the auction. And even the legendary New Zealand national rugby team, the All Blacks, won't shut up. Their message comes from the indigenous language, the Maori: Kia kaha. Stay strong