St. Paul Police Promise To Do Everything Possible To Protect Mosques – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

St. Paul Police Promise To Do Everything Possible To Protect Mosques - WCCO | CBS Minnesota
New Zealand Shooting Live Updates: 49 Are Dead After 2 Mosques Are Hit
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Following the massacre Friday at two New Zealand mosques that left 49 people dead, police in St. Paul say they’ll make sure officers spend more time patrolling near mosques in the Twin Cities.

The St. Paul Police Department tweeted Friday morning that it wants Muslims in the community to know that officers “will do everything possible” to keep them safe.

“Today and into the future, officers will make more frequent visits to our mosques and spend more time in the nearby areas,” one tweet read, adding: “We are stronger when we stand together, and together we’ll send the powerful message that all are welcome in Saint Paul.”

Today and into the future, officers will make more frequent visits to our mosques and spend more time in the nearby areas.

We are stronger when we stand together, and together we’ll send the powerful message that all are welcome in Saint Paul.

According to CBS News, the shooting in New Zealand happened during morning prayers in Christchurch, leaving 49 people dead and dozens of others injured. Leaders in the country are calling the massacre a “terrorist attack” and say a suspect is in custody.

Online, a man who claimed responsibility for the attack posted a manifesto, concerned with “white genocide” due to “mass immigration.”

In 2017, the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington was bombed. Earlier this year, two men charged in the bombing, who are members of an Illinois militia group, pleaded guilty to their role in the attack. They admitted that they hoped the bombing which injured no one, would scare Muslims into leaving the country.

I don’t remember the St. Paul police saying they would do everything they could to protect the Synagogues after the Pittsburg shooting.

• Forty-nine people were killed in shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, in a terrorist attack that appeared to have been carried out by a white nationalist extremist who posted a racist manifesto online and streamed live video of the attacks on Facebook.

• A 28-year-old man from Australia was charged with murder and appeared Saturday morning in a Christchurch courtroom. Court papers identified him as Brenton Harrison Tarrant. The New Zealand police said he would face additional charges. A second man, 18, was charged with intent to excite hostility or ill-will.

• Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said many of the people who died in the attacks were the breadwinners in their families, and that the government would help those who had been left without income.

• President Trump, who was cited in the manifesto as a source of inspiration, told reporters he did not see white nationalism as a rising threat around the world and attributed such attacks to a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. He also said he had not seen the manifesto.

The attacker targeted the Al Noor Mosque in the center of the city and Linwood Mosque, about three miles away.

The countrys police commissioner, Mike Bush, said at a Friday evening news conference that 41 people had been killed at Al Noor Mosque and seven at Linwood Mosque, and that another victim had died at Christchurch Hospital.

David Meates, the chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board, said that 48 people, including young children, were treated for injuries at the hospital. Mr. Bush said Saturday morning that two of the victims were in critical condition.

The police said Friday that three men and one woman had been taken into custody, but Mr. Bush lowered the total number to three on Saturday morning, indicating that someone had been released.

Mr. Bush had earlier urged people not to go to mosques anywhere in New Zealand on Friday. He also urged mosques nationally to close your doors until you hear from us again.

In a Christchurch courtroom hearing closed to the public for security reasons, police officers in bulletproof vests brought in the suspect, Brenton Harrison Tarrant. The police said he had been charged with one count of murder but would face additional charges. Mr. Tarrant, 28, short with thinning brown hair, handcuffed and wearing white prison clothing, looked around the courtroom but said nothing as District Court Judge Paul Kellar ordered him held for a further hearing on April 5.

Regional officials have said Mr. Tarrant is an Australian citizen. Court papers listed his New Zealand address as Dunedin City, which is about 280 miles south of Christchurch.

Richard Peters, his court-appointed lawyer, said Mr. Tarrant had indicated he might represent himself in the prosecution. Asked how Mr. Tarrant had reacted to what he is facing, Mr. Peters said, He seemed to be quite aware of where he is and what hes doing.

At the same time the charging document for Mr. Tarrant was handed out to reporters, a second court filing was distributed that said Daniel John Burrough, 18, of Christchurch, had been charged with intent to excite hostility or ill-will. Court officials would not elaborate on how the two cases were related.

In addition to Mr. Tarrant, three other people were arrested in connection with the attacks, although one was apparently released. Few details have been offered about them.

The clip, which appeared to have been taken from a helmet camera worn by the gunman, begins behind the wheel of a car. A man, whose face can occasionally be seen in the rearview mirror, drives through the streets of Christchurch before pulling up in front of Al Noor Mosque, beside the sprawling Hagley Park.

A live video posted to social media appeared to show the attack at Al Noor Mosque, where 41 people were killed. The clip appeared to have been taken from a camera worn by a gunman.

He approaches the mosque on foot, his weapon visible, and begins shooting at people at the entrance. What follows is a harrowing nearly two minutes of his firing on worshipers.

At one point the gunman exits the mosque and fires in both directions down the sidewalk before returning to his car for another gun — which, like the others, was inscribed with numbers, symbols or messages. When he re-enters the mosque, he shoots several bodies at close range.

There wasnt even time to aim, there was so many targets, he says at one point, as the sirens of an emergency response vehicle blare in the background.

Before the shooting, the gunman posted links to a white nationalist manifesto on Twitter and 8chan, an online forum known for extremist right-wing discussions. The 8chan post included a link to the gunmans Facebook page, where he said he would also broadcast live video of the attack.

The Twitter posts showed weapons covered in the names of past military generals and men who have recently carried out mass shootings.

In his manifesto, he identified himself as a 28-year-old man born in Australia, and listed his white nationalist heroes.

Writing that he had purposely used guns to stir discord in the United States over the Second Amendments provision on the right to bear arms, he also declared himself a fascist. For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist, he wrote.

Many of the people who died in the attacks were the breadwinners in their family, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Saturday.

The victims were predominantly from the ages of 20 to 60ish — and a large number of men, Ms. Ardern told reporters at Hagley College, a local school near the hospital where relatives of the victims were gathering.

She said a government compensation system would help families of those left without income. In the meantime, mosques would continue to get extra security, she added.

The commissioner has advised that police security will continue at mosques around New Zealand until it is determined that it is no longer a threat, she said, referring to the countrys police commissioner, Mike Bush.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Ardern vowed changes to the countrys gun laws. She said that the attacker held a gun license obtained last November and that five guns were used in the attack, including two semi-automatic weapons.

Our gun laws will change, now is the time, Ms. Ardern said, though did not elaborate on what such legislation may look like. People will be seeking change, and I am committed to that.

President Trump, who was mentioned in the suspected assailants manifesto as a source of inspiration, rejected suggestions that white nationalism is a rising menace, although he suggested it might be problem in New Zealand.

I think its a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, he told reporters in Washington in response to a question. If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps thats the case. I dont know enough about it yet. But its certainly a terrible thing.

Asked if he had seen the manifesto, Mr. Trump said: I did not see it, but I think its a horrible event, its a horrible thing. I saw it early in the morning when I looked at what was happening, and we spoke, as you know, to the prime minister. I think its a horrible disgraceful thing, horrible act.

Attacks on mosques and Muslim religious leaders in the West have increased in recent years, according to data from the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland. North America, Europe and Oceania saw 128 such attacks from 2010 through 2017, the latest year of available data.

Terrorist attacks on other religious institutions, such as churches and synagogues, totaled 213 over the same period.

By Weiyi Cai | Source: Global Terrorism Database | Note: Includes attacks on Islamic centers and Muslim religious figures.

I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person, Mr. Kjellberg, a Swede, said on Twitter.

Over the last 18 months, tech companies have promised stronger safeguards to ensure that violent content is not distributed through their sites. But those new safeguards were not enough to stop the posting of a video and manifesto believed related to Fridays shooting.

A 17-minute video that included graphic footage apparently of the shooting could be found on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram more than an hour after being posted. While Facebook and Twitter took down pages thought to be linked to the gunman, the posted content was spread rapidly through other accounts.

In order to evade detection, people appeared to be cropping the video or posting the text of the manifesto as an image — techniques used to evade automated systems that find and delete content.

Social media companies have heavily invested in those systems, with Facebook reporting last year that more than 99 percent of terrorism content by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda was found and removed through artificial intelligence.

A Facebook spokeswoman offered condolences to the victims and said the company was removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as were aware.

YouTube said it had taken down thousands of videos related to the shooting, and asked users to help flag videos. A spokeswoman for Reddit said it was also trying to remove any content containing links to the video stream or the manifesto.

Still, the tech companies were sharply criticized by Senator Cory Booker, a Democratic candidate for president, who said in New Hampshire on Friday that it was unacceptable for the companies to give a platform to hate.

Nasreen Hanif, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Womens Council of New Zealand, said the countrys Muslims were anxious for updates.

[For Muslims in New Zealand and abroad, the massacre has drawn outrage as a brazen act of hatred borne of anti-Muslim sentiment.]

Ms. Hanif said the two mosques in Christchurch had asked for help from the rest of New Zealands Muslims to arrange 49 funerals.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said that three Turkish citizens were wounded in the attack; the Palestine Liberation Organizations ambassador to New Zealand said at least one Palestinian was killed; and the group Syrian Solidarity New Zealand said on its Facebook page that Syrian refugees, including children, have been shot today.

A site managed by the International Committee of the Red Cross listed dozens of people who had been recorded as missing, including people from Egypt, Syria, India, Kuwait, Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.

Representative Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, urged all Muslims to attend Friday Prayers and exhorted people of all faiths to join them to repudiate the white supremacist message of the New Zealand attack.

I know there was a call for people to not go, she told reporters after addressing a climate rally in Washington. But I said to people that is what the terrorists want us to do. That is a win for them, and so we must face the hate and terror with love and with compassion.

The congresswoman, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota, has been at the center of a political tempest in the Democratic Party over remarks on Israel that critics have called anti-Semitic. She has apologized for those remarks.

Members of the Bangladesh national cricket team, in Christchurch for a match against New Zealand, were en route to Al Noor Mosque for Friday Prayer when the shooting began. They narrowly missed it.

Mohammad Isam, a journalist covering the team, reported for ESPN that at 1:52 p.m. he got a call from Tamim Iqbal Khan, one of the players.

Theres shooting here, please save us, Mr. Khan said, according to Mr. Isam. At first, he thought it was a prank.

But he hangs up and calls again — this time, his voice starts to crack, Mr. Isam wrote. He says that I should call the police as theres a shooting going on inside the mosque where they are about to enter.

Mr. Isam ran toward the mosque and saw bloodied and dazed people fleeing. In the chaos, he managed to find several players, and they eventually reconvened at the hotel. The team manager, Khaled Mashud, told reporters that players were about 50 yards from the mosque.

Had we reached even three or four minutes earlier, we probably would have been inside the mosque, he said.

Entire team got saved from active shooters, Mr. Khan wrote on Twitter. Another player, Mushfiqur Rahim, tweeted that he never wanted to see this things happen again.

Aman Singh, who works at a convenience store close to the Deans Avenue mosque, said he had heard the gunshots on Friday afternoon, and that shortly afterward people streamed past the shop, bloody and crying.

My really good friend goes there, he said, adding that he had not been able to confirm the friends whereabouts on Friday afternoon.

Murders are rare in New Zealand, and gun homicides even rarer. There were 35 murders countrywide in 2017. And since 2007, gun homicides have been in the single digits each year except 2009, when there were 11.

There were 1.2 million registered firearms in the country of 4.6 million people in 2017, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss nonprofit.

New Zealand law allows any person aged 16 or older with an entry-level firearm license to keep any number of common rifles and shotguns, according to, a project hosted by the University of Sydney. Most guns can be purchased without being tracked by law enforcement officials.

A mass shooting in Aramoana, New Zealand, in 1990 — when a man killed 13 people, including two 6-year-olds, after a dispute with his neighbor — led directly to tightened gun laws, including restrictions on military-style semiautomatic weapons.

Reporting was contributed by Charlotte Graham-McLay from Wellington, New Zealand; Megan Specia, Jason Bailey and Rick Gladstone from New York; Daniel Victor and Tiffany May from Hong Kong; Alan Yuhas from London; Damien Cave from Sydney, Australia; Sheera Frenkel from San Francisco; and Jonathan Weisman from Washington.

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