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The New Arab

Syrian refugees among mosque shooting victims

A survivor waits at the police cordon near the al-Noor mosque [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 March, 2019

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Among the victims of the mosque shootings in New Zealand, perpetrated by a 28-year-old Australian man who live streamed the attack, are Syrian refugees, Jordanians and Saudis.
Syrian refugees, as well as at least one Jordanian and Saudi nationals, were among the victims of the New Zealand mosque shootings on Friday, which killed 49 people and injured almost 50.

Ali Akil from Syrian Solidarity New Zealand told the local Newshub that one "one refugee family has been left without a father due to the mass shootings; and a mother, without her husband".

Akil also confirmed one child from a Syrian family is missing and another child is in serious condition.

"It is deeply saddening that these refugees have come all the way from Syria to New Zealand, thinking that it was a safe haven," Akil said.

"They escaped death and torture in Syria, to come to New Zealand, and be killed here."

Two Jordanians were killed and eight injured according to Jordanian news agency al-Ghad.

The shooter,who has now been charged with murder, was a 28-year-old Australian who live streamed much of the attack on Facebook. He allegedly posted an anti-immigration manifesto in which he proclaims himself a racist. 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Ayman Safadi, said he was following up with authorities in New Zealand after "the barbaric terrorist attack".

The ministry named Khaled Haj Mustafa as the Jordanian that died and said that barber Wasseim Alsati and his daughter were critically injured.  

The Saudi embassy in Wellington has confirmed two of its citizens were among those injured in the al-Noor mosque attack, and one has died from wounds. 

Two Turkish citizens were also injured in the attack but their lives are not in danger, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at the European Parliament.

Police have set up Restoring Family links page for those affected, where missing people can register themselves as alive.

The recorded birth places for those missing range from Pakistan, Turkey, Palestine, Egypt, Somalia, India, Indonesia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia - among others. Thirty-five have been listed as missing.

Six Indonesians were inside the mosque during the attack - three managed to escape and three remain unaccounted for, said Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

Malaysia has announced that two of their citizens are injured and being treated at the hospital. Children are also thought to be among the victims.

The shootings have shocked New Zealand, which is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world with very low murder rates.

"The person who has committed this violent act has no place here", said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in response to what she called a "terrorist attack" on one of her country's "darkest days".

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said authorities detained threee others and defused a number of improvised explosive devices that were attached to vehicles stopped after the attacks.

CJ Werleman, an Australian activist and journalist who writes for The New Arab, described the growing threat of anti-Muslim extremism in Australia and elsewhere.

"The western world must now come to the realisation that the gunman at the centre of this tragedy wasn't radicalised into violent extremism by the dark web or remote comers of the internet, but rather by anti-Muslim animus that's so freely amplified in the mainstream media, serving as a deadly reminder that Islamophobia remains the only socially acceptable form of racism," he told The New Arab.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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