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Nearly US$3M Donated to Victims of New Zealand Terror Attacks

  • People reacts as they move flowers after police removed a police line, outside Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch

    People reacts as they move flowers after police removed a police line, outside Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 March 2019

A flood of donations crashed a crowdfunding site, people across the world have been protesting, and leaders are speaking out against Islamaphobia.

Millions of dollars in donations have been pouring out in support of survivors and victims’ families after a horrific mass-shooting at two mosques in New Zealand, as citizens around the world grieve in the wake of an atrocity motivated by hatred and white supremacist ideology.

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Nearly US$3,000,000 has been raised between two online crowdfunding campaigns on behalf of the victims of the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand by the time of writing this article on Saturday morning.

Donations to Victim Support, an organization that provides pro-bono community response for victims of serious crime and trauma, flooded the Givealittle website in such force that the website crashed.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Givealittle team to restore the site overnight and this morning, however Victim Support would like to advise that a second appeals page has been set up on the fundraising platform Everyday Hero,” Chief Executive at Victim Support Kevin Tso said.

“All donations received will be ring-fenced to support the dozens of families who have been bereaved and many more injured by yesterday’s horrific shootings.” 

Children hold placards after a prayer meet for victims of Friday's mosque attacks in New Zealand, outside a mosque in Jammu, Kashmir. | Source: Reuters

Leaders and organizations around the world have expressed sorrow at the killing of 49 people in shootings at two New Zealand mosques Friday, attacks that many blamed on the rdemonization of Muslims by the West, in particular by far-right leaders and movements.

Western leaders from United States President Donald Trump to German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed solidarity with New Zealanders, deploring what the White House called a "vicious act of hate."

However, convicted 28-year-old shooter Brenton Tarrant -- who live-streamed his mass murder and later in court was photographed flashing a “white power” symbol with his hand (what looks like an upside-down “okay” sign) -- praised U.S. President Donald Trump in a 74-page manifesto that he published around the time of the shooting.

Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder, makes a sign to the camera during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court | Source: Reuters

Tarrant, from Australia, praised Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose" while also complementing Anders Breivik, the Norwegian white supremacist who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011 in the document which Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison called “a work of hate” and Tarrant an "extremist, right-wing violent terrorist".

Trump, following a phone call with New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern, tweeted "...I informed the Prime Minister ... that we stand in solidarity with New Zealand - and that any assistance the U.S.A. can give, we stand by ready to help. We love you New Zealand!"

Asked by a reporter if he thought white nationalism is a rising threat around the world, Trump said, "I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand perhaps that's a case, I don't know enough about it yet." He said he had not seen the gunman's manifesto.

Australian senator Fraser Anning remarked that "the real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place."

"The truth is that Islam is not like any other faith. It is the religious equivalent of fascism. And just because the followers of this savage belief were not the killers in this instance, does not make them blameless," he added.

Some leaders and officials of Muslim countries responded to the bloodshed criticizing politicians and media for stoking hatred against Muslims. Victims were immigrants from India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Turkey, authorities said.

New Zealand police said 49 people were killed and 42 were being treated for wounds, including a four-year-old child. Three people were in custody including Tarrant who has been charged with murder, police said.

"I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 (where) 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror," Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote on social media.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the attack was a result of Muslims being demonized. "Not only the perpetrators, but also politicians & media that fuel the already escalated Islamophobia and hate in the West are equally responsible for this heinous attack," he tweeted.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world’s largest Muslim body, to discuss this "horrible crime", Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported.

"Western hypocrisy of defending demonization of Muslims as 'freedom of expression' MUST end," Zarif said on Twitter. He posted a picture of U.S. President Donald Trump saying "I think Islam hates us," during the 2016 U.S. election campaign.

The Palestinian chief peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, called the attack a "consequence of racist ideologies that continue trying to promote religious wars".

He compared it to the shooting last October at a synagogue in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh that killed 11 people, deadly attacks on churches in Egypt by Islamic State and an attack by a far-right Israeli gunman on a West Bank mosque in 1994 that killed 29 people.

A statement by Lebanon’s resistence movement Hezbollah said in part: "Hezbollah warns against the tendency of extremism against Muslims and foreigners and against the politics of hate that the United States nourishes in the world, rather than religious values that advocate tolerance, dialogue and acceptance of the other."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said some of the victims may have been new immigrants or refugees. "They are us," she said. "The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand."

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