As hundreds of family and friends await news of their loved ones from the Christchurch mosque massacre, the world has stopped to pray for three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim.
Abdi Ibrahim has been looking for his three-year-old brother since the shooting.
Mucad had been at the Al Noor Mosque on nearby Deans Avenue with their father when the shooting started on Friday.
He is now feared dead, with no official confirmation of his status yet.
The New Zealand Red Cross website has his status as missing.
Their father was wounded and is in hospital but Mucad is nowhere to be seen.
“Everyone is saying he is dead, he died at the mosque but we don’t know,” he said.
MOSQUE’S IMAM SPEAKS OUT
The imam of the mosque where seven worshipers were killed says that the massacre hasn’t shattered his community – or its trust in their adopted homeland.
“We still love this country,” said Ibrahim Abdul Halim, who was leading Friday prayers at Linwood Islamic Centre when the attack happened. “Extremists would never ever touch our confidence.”
“My children live here,” Halim said, the day after Tarrant killed 49 people at two Christchurch mosques, and praised New Zealanders for their support.
“They start to … give me big hugs, and give me more solidarity,” he said. “This is something very important.”
NEW FOOTAGE OF AUSTRALIAN GUNMAN’S ARREST
New footage has showed the moments after unarmed police stopped Tarrant’s car on a Christchurch street by ramming it, dragging him from the vehicle and disarming him, turning his own weapon on the terrorist.
AUSTRALIA STANDS BY NZ WITH SILVER FERN
A silver fern has been projected onto the Sydney Opera House as a symbol of solidarity for the people of New Zealand following the Christchurch attack. The sails of the Opera House were lit up on Saturday night, a day after Muslims were massacred while worshipping at mosques in Christchurch.
The Silver Fern of New Zealand illumination represented “solidarity, support and respect” after at least 49 people were killed.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the display demonstrated the state’s unity and compassion towards everyone affected by the attacks.
“We feel the loss in Christchurch especially deeply given the closeness of our two countries. It is as though this has occurred on our own soil,” Ms Berejiklian said.
ARDERN’S OFFICE KNEW OF MANIFESTO MINUTES BEFORE
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s office has confirmed it received a copy of accused Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant’s 73-page long manifesto just minutes before he carried out his mosque massacre.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Ms Ardern’s office confirmed it got a copy of the document less than 10 minutes before the attacks began on Friday.
There were 70 other recipients who were emailed the manifesto, including National leader Simon Bridges and Parliament’s Speaker Trevor Mallard.
A spokesman for the PM’s office said it came to an email account managed by her office and not her private account.
“The mail was setting his reasons for doing it. He didn’t say this is what I am about to do. There was no opportunity to stop it,” a spokesman for Ms Ardern told the NZ Herald.
Once opened it was referred to Parliamentary security and then referred to police.
AUSTRALIAN GUNMAN’S EVIL HAND GESTURES
With an icy cold stare, a smirk and a right wing extremist hand signal, Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant faced Christchurch District Court on a single murder charge related to the worst massacre in New Zealand’s history.
The 28-year-old didn’t say anything, he was not yet required to.
But his thoughts were writ large on his demeanour as he calmly stared at the press gallery, and gently rocked on his feet. Then he made a subtle “white power” symbol with his fingers and again scanned the room seemingly looking for approval as he smirked.
His appearance lasted just three minutes, before the shackled and cuffed stocky Tarrant was ushered out of the court room. He was wearing the white prison garb he was handed after his arrest on Friday.
No plea was entered but will be required when he appears next in the High Court on April 5.
Judge Paul Kellar told the court there was only one charge at the moment “but assume there will be others”, the one charge sheet stating that he “on the 15th day of March 2019 at Christchurch murdered (name suppressed) … with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment”.
The judge suppressed the name of the male victim out of respect for his family and the broader community.
While Tarrant’s appearance lasted just three minutes, the judge spent 10 minutes to reflect on the tragedy from a legal point of view.
A large throng of press from all over the world were the only people allowed access to the locked-down court building to bear witness to the brief proceedings and he wanted to explain why the public was banned.
He said the media were “the surrogates of the public and I’ve taken this decision to clear the court for reasons of public safety”.
But he said for openness and transparency that were fundamental to the principles of New Zealand justice he allowed the brief proceedings to be filmed, photographed and audio recorded to relay to the world’s public.
He said he felt that was the court’s obligation to the victims.
As a precaution however he ordered the face of the defendant in his court proceedings be pixelated in case identity was to become an issue.
He said the recording on a pool basis followed applications by the media from Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. He issued an 11-page instruction document to each individual press person in the room as a “reminder you are the eyes and ears of the public” and beholden to fair and balanced reporting.
Outside the court house, dozens of locals lined up on the steps behind a police cordon to catch a glimpse of the man who has traumatised their city. One man attempted to get into court and vocally threatened “to knife” the accused before he was moved on by police. Tensions were running high in this city. As the court case was going on, a few hundreds of metres away a dozens of locals gathered to lay flowers and wreaths at the spot where someone was randomly killed during Tarrant’s alleged drive-by shooting.
“It’s too much, just too much,” one woman said as she broke down in tears.
At a road junction close to the Al Noor mosque hundreds gathered to drop of flowers and show solidarity. Most of those at the site were white or of Maori descent in a show of defiance and solidarity.
Christchurch was quieter than usual with a high public police presence and some shops not opening today as the city mourns the deaths and the loss of innocence of the country, previously largely untouched by the spectre of terror.
FLIGHTS TO NZ CANCELLED
Numerous flights in and out of the city were cancelled with national carrier Air New Zealand saying it couldn’t screen customers and their baggage following the deadly shootings while Jetstar flights from Australia were also cancelled to help ease the pressure on resources in the city.
NZ BRACES FOR WORST TO COME
Tarrant’s high security court appearance came as the city was warned to brace for the death toll to rise with at least one dozen victims in critical condition.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited the city as the death toll remained at 49 lives, 41 worshippers slain were at the Masjid al Noor in central Christchurch, with seven more killed at the Linwood Ave mosque, five kilometres away.
The imam who was leading prayers at Linwood mosque on the day of the shooting said the Muslim community’s love for New Zealand would not be shaken by the attacks. “We still love this country,” said Ibrahim Abdul Halim, ivowing that extremists would “never ever touch our confidence”.
Police confirmed Tarrant was the only alleged shooter, however charged a second man with a related offence.
According to a court charge sheet distributed to the media in court, the second man was a 19-year-old local charged with having “intent to excite hostility, ill will against any group of persons in New Zealand on the grounds of the colour, race or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons, publishes written material which is insulting”.
The maximum penalty is NZ$7000 under the Human Rights Act.
Floral tributes are flowing in for the 49 people killed and dozens of others who were critically injured in Friday’s attack on two Christchurch mosques.
Across New Zealand and the world, flags have been lowered to half-mast and silences have been observed at sporting matches in a show of solidarity against the tragedy.
The Sydney Opera House will be lit up with the silver fern of New Zealand on Saturday night in tribute.
Tributes amass for victims of Christchurch mosque massacre