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New Zealand police warn of new mosque threat before Christchurch massacre


WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand police and security services were warned of a threat against another mosque the same day as an gunman killed 51 Muslim worshipers in Christchurch in 2019, said a group of Islamic women during an investigation into the shooting massacre.

The New Zealand Islamic Women’s Council said it repeatedly warned police and security services of threats from white supremacists, including when they received a Facebook message threatening to burn the Quran outside. a mosque in Hamilton on March 15, 2019, the same day as Christchurch. attack.

Although the threat is not directly linked to the mass shooting, additional security measures could have been taken in all the mosques, said the closed door investigation which was made public on Tuesday.

“The police had enough information to justify a coordinated national strategy,” the group said in its 130-page brief.

“ If there had been such a strategy, the message would have alerted every mosque in the country of a threat to a mosque on Friday March 15, 2019 and for all mosques to take additional security measures. Whether or not the threat is related to the Christchurch killer is immaterial. ”

Armed with semi-automatic weapons, Australian Brenton Tarrant, an alleged white supremacist, attacked two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, 2019, broadcasting New Zealand’s worst mass shootout live on Facebook.

Tarrant has pleaded guilty and a court will begin sentencing on August 24.

The statement from the Islamic Women’s Council said that the police, security services and government officials focused only on the fight against terrorism by Muslim extremists, leaving the community vulnerable to the rise of the right-wing movement.

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“The evidence indicates that public sector employees were, at best, asleep at work and, at worst, intentionally

ignore our pleas and actively undermine our work, “said Aliya Danzeisen, who heads the group’s engagement in government, in a statement.

Police said no comments would be made until the conclusion of the Royal Commission. However, regarding the specific threat in the report, he said the person had been identified and formally warned.

A government spokesperson said the government would wait for the commission’s report before making any comments.

The Royal Commission investigation into the gun slaughter is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Threats against the Muslim community have continued since the attack, with a threatening social media post released earlier this year.

New Zealand, unlike the United States or Britain, has never recorded specific hate crime offenses, which raises questions about the signs that security agencies may have missed.

The Islamic Women’s Council estimates that there is no Muslim woman in New Zealand who wears a headscarf that has not been abused in public at any time.

https://s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20200707&t=2&i=1524846150&w=1200&r=LYNXMPEG66057

Source: Reuters

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