'Horror and sorrow': U of T reacts to attack on Christchurch mosque

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The 28-year-old Australian man accused of yesterday's terror attack that left at least 49 people dead in Christchurch has appeared in court this morning, charged with murder.

The judge later added it was "reasonable to assume" more charges would follow. An attack at another mosque killed seven more, and one victim died at a hospital, leaving the country reeling in the aftermath of its deadliest mass shooting in recent history.

Following the attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: "It is clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack".

The Christchurch suspect's manifesto also used various hate symbols associated with the Nazis and white supremacy.

Afternoon prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, were ambushed by gunfire on Friday, leaving at least 49 people dead.

Service at a mosque in Gibsonia
Service at a mosque in Gibsonia

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the attack brought back memories of 2011, when anti-Muslim extremist Anders Breivik killed 77 at a youth gathering on a Norwegian island: "It shows that extremism is nurtured and that it lives in many places".

Police were able to neutralize two devices: an improvised explosive device at one of the mosques and another device found in the suspect's vehicle, which was also rendered safe. With a grim expression, she said the country seems to have been targeted because of its welcoming and tolerance.

After the attacks, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush told mosques nationwide to "close your doors until you hear from us again". Among the five victims was 11-year-old Ebba Akerland. "One leg of an injured [person] needed to be amputated while another suffered bullet injuries in his chest", he said. An officer stopped him. "We're in a big multi-diverse society, everybody can just practise their religion freely, they can enjoy their rituals, without actually being forced to change their beliefs".

People wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019.

According to New Zealand Herald, Tarrant smirked as he stood in the dock.

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Leaders around the world expressed sorrow and disgust at the attacks, with some deploring the demonisation of Muslims.

Forty-one people were killed at the Al Noor mosque. But it has one of the lowest gun homicide rates in the world.

Ardern said the Australian suspect was not on any watch lists and did not have a criminal record.

They shared a video message from musicians SOL3MIO, who dedicated a song to "New Zealand, and to family and friends".

He said they were praying "to our God of all peoples and of all cultures for peace, tolerance and good will".

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"This is a time of distress, we are in disarray, we don't know why this has happened", he said.

"My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the disgusting massacre in the Mosques".

Asked by a reporter in Washington if he thought white nationalism is a rising threat around the world, Trump said: "I don't really".

"We are in the midst of a surge of right-wing terrorism that has been metastasising in plain sight while generating only a muted response from domestic counter-terrorism authorities", he said.

The majority of those killed were at the Masjid Al-Noor, a mosque on Deans Avenue in the central part of Christchurch, with the shooting occurring around 1:45 p.m. local time. I mean, you're killing people. The public was being urged to stay indoors. "The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not".

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Social media was flooded with messages of shock, sympathy and solidarity.