Christchurch, Mar 16 (AP/UNB) — When the gunman advanced toward the mosque, killing those in his path, Abdul Aziz didn't hide. Instead, he picked up the first thing he could find, a credit card machine, and ran outside screaming "Come here!"
Aziz, 48, is being hailed as a hero for preventing more deaths during Friday prayers at the Linwood mosque in Christchurch after leading the gunman in a cat-and-mouse chase before scaring him into speeding away in his car.
But Aziz, whose four sons and dozens of others remained in the mosque while he faced off with the gunman, said he thinks it's what anyone would have done.
The gunman killed 49 people after attacking two mosques in the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand's modern history.
The gunman is believed to have killed 41 people at the Al Noor mosque before driving about 5 kilometers (3 miles) across town and attacking the Linwood mosque, where he killed seven more people. One person died later in a hospital.
White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder in the slayings and a judge said Saturday that it was reasonable to assume more charges would follow.
Latef Alabi, the Linwood mosque's acting imam, said the death toll would have been far higher at the Linwood mosque if it wasn't for Aziz.
Alabi said he heard a voice outside the mosque at about 1:55 p.m. and stopped the prayer he was leading and peeked out the window. He saw a guy in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun, and assumed it was a police officer. Then he saw two bodies and heard the gunman yelling obscenities.
"I realized this is something else. This is a killer," he said.
He yelled at the congregation of more than 80 to get down. They hesitated. A shot rang out, a window shattered and a body fell, and people began to realize it was for real.
"Then this brother came over. He went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that's how we were saved," Alabi said, referring to Aziz. "Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone."
Aziz said as he ran outside screaming, he was hoping to distract the attacker. He said the gunman ran back to his car to get another gun, and Aziz hurled the credit card machine at him.
He said he could hear his two youngest sons, aged 11 and 5, urging him to come back inside.
The gunman returned, firing. Aziz said he ran, weaving through cars parked in the driveway, which prevented the gunman from getting a clean shot. Then Aziz spotted a gun the gunman had abandoned and picked it up, pointed it and squeezed the trigger. It was empty.
He said the gunman ran back to the car for a second time, likely to grab yet another weapon.
"He gets into his car and I just got the gun and threw it on his window like an arrow and blasted his window," he said.
The windshield shattered: "That's why he got scared."
He said the gunman was cursing at him, yelling that he was going to kill them all. But he drove away and Aziz said he chased the car down the street to a red light, before it made a U-turn and sped away. Online videos indicate police officers managed to force the car from the road and drag out the suspect soon after.
Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, Aziz said he left as a refugee when he was a boy and lived for more than 25 years in Australia before moving to New Zealand a couple of years ago.
"I've been to a lot of countries and this is one of the beautiful ones," he said. And, he always thought, a peaceful one as well.
Aziz said he didn't feel fear or much of anything when facing the gunman. It was like he was on autopilot. And he believes that God, that Allah, didn't think it was his time to die.
Canberra, Mar 16 (AP/UNB) — An Australian senator had a raw egg cracked over his head and faces censure from his fellow lawmakers after sparking outrage by blaming Muslim immigration for the New Zealand mosque shootings.
Sen. Fraser Anning came under blistering criticism over tweets on Friday including one that said, "Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?"
"The real cause of the bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place," he said in a statement.
Television cameras caught a 17-year-old boy breaking an egg on Anning's head and briefly scuffling with the independent senator while he was holding a news conference Saturday in Melbourne.
Police said the boy was arrested but was released without charge pending a further investigation. No motive was offered for the egging.
The government and opposition party agreed to pass a censure motion against Anning over his stance on the Christchurch shootings when Parliament resumes in April.
While such a reprimand is a symbolic gesture, the major parties expect to demonstrate how isolated Anning's views are among Australia's 226 federal lawmakers. The major parties' support ensures the censure motion will be passed by both chambers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he denounced Anning's comments.
"In his conflation of this horrendous terrorist attack with issues of immigration, in his attack on Islamic faith specifically — these comments are appalling and they're ugly and they have no place in Australia, in the Australian Parliament," Morrison said. "He should be, frankly, ashamed of himself."
Bilal Rauf, spokesman for the Australian National Imams Council, the nation's top Muslim group, likened the senator's views to the rambling manifesto published online by suspect Brenton Tarrant before the slayings.
"When one looks at his statement, it may as well have been an extract from the manifesto of the person that perpetrated these heinous crimes, this act of terrorism in Christchurch," Rauf said.
Rauf said Anning was unfit for the Senate.
Opposition lawmaker Penny Wong accused Anning of attempting to use the tragedy to grab attention ahead of elections in May.
Anning only received 19 votes in the last election in 2016. But because of a quirk in the Australian electoral system, he was elevated to the Senate by the anti-immigration, anti-Muslim One Nation party after a court ruled that its senator, Malcolm Roberts, had not been eligible to run for election due to his dual citizenship.
Anning later defected from One Nation to another anti-immigration party, then became an independent. Analysts say Anning is unlikely to be re-elected as an independent candidate in May.
Anning was widely condemned for his first speech to the Senate in August advocating reviving a white-only immigration policy and using the term "final solution" in calling for a vote on which migrants to admit into the country. Critics accused him of making a veiled reference to the Nazi extermination of Jews.
The government also announced on Saturday it had banned right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos from touring the country over his social media response to the Christchurch shootings.
Immigration Minister David Coleman said Yiannopoulos' social media comments are "appalling and foment hatred and division."
Coleman didn't specify which comments he was referring to.
Yiannopoulos said on Facebook that attacks like Christchurch happen because "the establishment panders to and mollycoddles extremist leftism and barbaric, alien religious cultures."
Lawmakers within Australia's conservative government had been quarreling in recent weeks over whether the firebrand commentator should be allowed to tour Australia this year.
Christchurch, Mar 16 (AP/UNB) — Heartbroken New Zealanders lit candles and placed flowers at makeshift memorials set up in the city of Christchurch in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in the country's history.
Some mourners hugged their neighbors, while others stood in solemn silence at sites in the city center, not far from the two mosques where Muslims gathered for Friday prayers were mowed down by a racist gunman.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the shooter, an Australian native, had chosen to strike in New Zealand "because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion."
Mar 16 (AP/UNB) - Houses of worship around the world, a place of reflection and peace, have been targeted for attack by extremists. Here are some of the deadly assaults over the last decade:
July 16, 2010: Jundallah group kills 27 and injures 270 after it carries out a double suicide bombing against another Shiite mosque in southeastern Iran.
Oct. 31, 2010: Al-Qaida in Iraq militants attack Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church in Baghdad during Sunday night mass, killing 58 people in the deadliest assault targeting Christians since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion there. Al-Qaida in Iraq later became the Islamic State group.
Dec. 15, 2010: Two suicide bombers from the Sunni extremist group Jundallah blow themselves up near a mosque in southeastern Iran, including six Revolutionary Guard commanders.
Aug. 5, 2012: Six members of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, in Oak Creek, are fatally shot by a white supremacist, Wade Michael Page. Page was shot by a responding officer and later killed himself.
Nov. 18, 2014: Two Palestinians using axes, knives and a gun kill four Jewish worshippers and an Israeli police officer in an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue.
Jan. 30, 2015: Suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in the Pakistani town of Shikarpur kills 71. Jundullah claims responsibility.
March 20, 2015: Islamic State suicide bombers attack a pair of mosques in Yemen's capital, unleashing monstrous blasts that ripped through worshippers and killed 137 people.
June 17, 2015: Nine black worshippers including a pastor are killed by Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white supremacist, after he prayed with them in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof was convicted of federal hate-crime and obstruction-of-religion charges and sentenced to death.
Sept. 24, 2015: A suicide bomber strikes a mosque in Yemen's rebel-held capital, killing 25 worshippers during prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Nov. 12, 2016: Suicide bomber from Islamic State group kills over 50 at the shrine of Shah Noorani, in Pakistan's Baluchistan province.
Dec. 11, 2016: Suicide bomber strikes inside a Cairo chapel adjacent to St. Mark's Cathedral, seat of Egypt's ancient Coptic Orthodox Church. The Islamic State group claimed the attack, which killed at least 25 people.
Jan. 29, 2017: A gunman killed six men during evening prayers at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and attempted murder charges and was sentenced to serve 40 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
Feb. 16, 2017: Suicide bomber detonates his explosives vest among the devotees at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Pakistan's Sindh province, killing 98.
April 9, 2017: Twin suicide bombings rock churches in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria and Tanta, killing at least 45 people. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.
June 15, 2017: A suicide bomber kills four people at a Shiite mosque in Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul. Among the dead is a leader of Afghanistan's ethnic Hazaras, who are mostly Shiite Muslims.
Aug. 1, 2017: A suicide bomber storms into the largest Shiite mosque in Afghanistan's western Herat province, opening fire on worshippers before blowing himself up, killing at least 90 people. Hundreds more were wounded in the attack, which happened during evening prayers.
Aug. 25, 2017: Militants storm a packed Shiite mosque in Kabul during Friday prayers. The attack ends with at least 28 worshippers killed and 50 wounded, many of them children. Two of the assailants blow themselves up and another two are shot dead by Afghan security forces.
Sept. 29, 2017: A suicide bomber blows himself up outside a Shiite mosque in Kabul, killing five. The attack took place as worshippers were leaving the mosque after Friday prayers.
Oct. 20, 2017: The Islamic State group claims a suicide bomber attack, killing 31 and wounding 29 people, at a Shiite mosque in Kabul.
Nov. 5, 2017: Dressed in black tactical-style gear and armed with an assault weapon, 26-year-old Devin Kelley opened fire at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people and wounding about 20 others.
Nov. 24, 2017: Militants kill 311 worshippers in a mosque attack in north Sinai, the deadliest such terrorist attack in Egypt's modern history.
Dec. 17, 2017: Islamic State attack on a church in Pakistani city of Quetta kills 16 people.
Aug. 3, 2018: Suicide bombers disguised in burqa robes attack a Shiite mosque in eastern Afghanistan, killing 27 people.
Oct. 27, 2018: A gunman believed to have spewed anti-Semitic slurs and rhetoric on social media entered Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh and opened fire, killing 11 and wounding six, including four police officers.
Jan. 27, 2019: Two suicide attackers detonate two bombs during a Mass in a Roman Catholic cathedral on the largely Muslim island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, killing 23 and wounding about 100 others. Three days later, an attacker hurls a grenade in a mosque in nearby Zamboanga city, killing two religious teachers.
March 15, 2019: At least 40 people are killed in an attack at mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
Wellington, Mar 16 (Xinhua/UNB)-- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated to the public on Saturday morning that the country's gun law will be changed.
The move came after terrorists attacked two mosques in the country's second largest city Christchurch and five guns were discovered, two of which are semi-automatic guns. Other weapons and firearms were also retrieved by the police.
It is understood that the killers of the terror attacks have legitimate gun license.
"Our gun law will be changed," the prime minister said.
So far three suspects are now in custody. They are all Australian citizens, but not in any watch list of New Zealand or Australia. A fourth arrest was not related to the killing and the person was then discharged.
A 28-year old man is due to appear on Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning.
The man has been charged with murder. Two others are still in custody.
It is reported that the man who has been charged with murder is named Brenton Tarrant. He is an Australian National who live streamed the killing via social media.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel spoke to the public on Saturday morning, sending her condolences to the victims and their families and the people who are affected by the attacks.
"Our thoughts go to the victims and their families and everyone being affected," Dalziel said.
She also acknowledged the extraordinary response from the police and first responders.
"An attack on the Muslin community is an attack on us, on Christchurch and on New Zealand," Dalziel said.
The mayor believed that Christchurch would go through this together.
Major public events during the weekend have all been cancelled across New Zealand in the wake of the terror attacks.
At least 49 people were killed and 48 others injured in the terror attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.