Sunday marks the first anniversary of the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history – the attacks on two mosques in the city of Christchurch that killed 51 people and left nearly 50 more wounded. A year on, the scarred community awaits the conclusions of a governmental inquiry due in April, and many victims still struggle with trauma.
On March 15 2019, a gunman opened fire inside the Al Noor Mosque, livestreaming his hate-fueled assault on Facebook as he mercilessly murdered worshippers one-by-one. He went on to target Muslims at the Linwood Islamic Centre, just 10 minutes away.
The official inquiry has been criticised by several Muslims appointed to advise it, who say they have felt excluded from the process. The inquiry – known in New Zealand as a Royal Commission – acknowledged that criticism, and said it was one of the reasons the commission had been extended by four months.
Now, authorities in New Zealand say they are investigating a fresh threat against the Al Noor Mosque that surfaced just days before it marks one year since the massacre. Police say the threat appeared on encrypted messaging app Telegram.
On this episode of The Stream we discuss how the community is coping one year on, and ask what can be done to prevent similar attacks in the future.