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An Australian teen known around the world as "Egg Boy" has conceded that egging a far-right senator was not the right thing to do, but says the gesture united a world reeling from a white-supremacist’s alleged massacre of 50 Muslims in New Zealand.

Will Connolly gave his first television interview on Monday since becoming an online hero among many for cracking an egg on Sen. Fraser Anning’s head as the maverick legislator spoke at a news conference after a gunman killed or wounded 100 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques on March 15.

Anning has been widely criticized for blaming Muslim immigration for the racist attacks.

Connolly said he is embarrassed that the international attention he has attracted with the egging has distracted attention from the victims of Christchurch.

Source: Fox News World

China says New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit next week, in a possible easing of recent tensions.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang announced Monday that Ardern will be in China on Sunday and Monday, but gave no details about her itinerary.

Relations between China and New Zealand have been strained in recent months after New Zealand’s spy agency in November halted mobile phone company Spark from using Huawei equipment in its planned 5G upgrade.

Since taking office in 2017, Ardern has promised to make an official visit to China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

New Zealand was shaken earlier this month by a deadly shooting spree on two mosques in Christchurch.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand (all times local):

7 p.m.

The body of a 26-year-old Pakistani who was among 50 worshippers killed during attacks on mosques in New Zealand has arrived at an airport in the southern port city of Karachi.

Syed Areeb Ahmed was among nine Pakistanis who were killed on March 15 when a white supremacist shot people inside two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

On Monday, his sobbing father Syed Ayaz Ahmed, family members and government officials received his body.

Ahmed was an only son who had immigrated to New Zealand for work, according to his uncle Muhammad Muzaffar Khan.

Last week, Pakistan observed a day of mourning for the victims and honored another Pakistani, Naeem Rashid, who died along with his son after trying to tackle the gunman.

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3 p.m.

New Zealand’s prime minister has announced a top-level inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the massacre of 50 people in two Christchurch mosques.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country’s highest form of investigation, a royal commission of inquiry, was appropriate for "matters of the gravest public importance."

Her Cabinet had previously agreed on holding an inquiry, but had not decided what kind of investigation would be held.

She said the Cabinet agreed Monday a royal commission of inquiry "will look at what could have or should have been done to prevent the attack."

An Australian white supremacist has been charged with murder for the March 15 attacks.

Source: Fox News World

A slow-moving cyclone that lashed northwest Australia was weakening on Monday.

The Bureau of Meteorology said Cyclone Veronica had weakened from a Category 3 storm, on a scale in which 5 is the strongest, to a Category 2, with sustained winds near its center of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour and wind gusts of up to 140 kph (87 mph).

The storm was expected to continue to track west away from the coast of the sparsely populated Pilbara region of Western Australia state and weaken below cyclone strength late Monday, the bureau said.

There have been no reports of injuries or major structural damage from two major cyclones that hit the Australian coast over the weekend. But damage assessment had only just begun on Monday.

About 60,000 people live in the area most affected by Veronica, which crossed the Pilbara coast on Sunday. The iron ore mining region is said to be generally well prepared for cyclones that lash its coast frequently.

On Saturday, Category 4 Cyclone Trevor hit a remote part of the Northern Territory coast, about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) to the east of the Pilbara region.

Trevor was downgraded on Sunday to a tropical low pressure system as it moved inland. The more than 2,000 people evacuated from Northern Territory coastal areas in its path have begun moving back home.

A red alert that warns residents to find shelter and brace for destructive winds remained in place in parts of the Pilbara. But that warning is expected to be lifted on Monday.

Roof and tree damage has been reported at towns in the Pilbara region.

Cyclones are frequent in Australia’s tropical north but rarely claim lives. Still, two large storms such as Trevor and Veronica hitting on successive days is rare.

Source: Fox News World

New Zealand’s prime minister has announced a top-level inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the massacre of 50 people in two Christchurch mosques.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country’s highest form of investigation, a royal commission of inquiry, was appropriate for "matters of the gravest public importance."

Her Cabinet had previously agreed on holding an inquiry, but had not decided what kind of investigation would be held.

She said the Cabinet agreed Monday a royal commission of inquiry "will look at what could have or should have been done to prevent the attack."

An Australian white supremacist has been charged with murder for the March 15 attacks.

Source: Fox News World

New Zealanders are debating the limits of free speech after their chief censor banned a 74-page manifesto written by the man accused of slaughtering 50 people at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

The ban, issued Saturday, means anybody caught with the document on their computer could face up to 10 years in prison, while anyone caught sending it could face 14 years. Some say the ban goes too far and risks lending both the document and the gunman mystique.

At the same time, many local media organizations are debating whether to even name the Australian man charged with murder in the March 15 attacks, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed she would never mention him by name.

In some ways, Tarrant’s manifesto provides the greatest insight into his character and thinking, with neighbors and those he met in a gym in the sleepy seaside town of Dunedin recalling nothing particularly remarkable about him.

Chief Censor David Shanks said Tarrant’s manifesto contains justifications for acts of tremendous cruelty like killing children and encourages acts of terrorism, even outlining specific places to target and methods to carry out attacks.

He said that in banning the document, he and his staff worried about drawing more attention to it. But in the end, he said, they decided they needed to treat it the same way as propaganda from groups like the Islamic State, which they have also banned.

Shanks had earlier placed a similar ban on the 17-minute livestream video the killer filmed from a camera mounted on his helmet during the shootings. He said researchers and journalists could apply for exemptions from both bans.

But while free speech advocates haven’t questioned banning the graphic video, they said banning the manifesto is a step too far.

"People are more confident of each other and their leaders when there is no room left for conspiracy theories, when nothing is hidden," said Stephen Franks, a constitutional lawyer and spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition. "The damage and risks are greater from suppressing these things than they are from trusting people to form their own conclusions and to see evil or madness for what it is."

Franks said he had no interest in reading the manifesto until it was banned. He now is curious because it is "forbidden fruit," he said, and he worries others may feel the same way. He said the ban makes no sense when New Zealanders remain free to read Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, "Mein Kampf."

Ardern told Parliament last week that she wouldn’t give the gunman anything he wanted.

"He sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety," she said. "And that is why you will never hear me mention his name."

She said people should instead remember the names of the victims.

Some media organizations appear to be taking up her call. News website Stuff on Saturday published an 1,800-word profile on Tarrant without once naming him.

"Our view at the moment is that we’re dialing back on naming him, unless it’s pertinent or important," said Mark Stevens, the editorial director at Stuff.

The New Zealand Herald also published a profile on Tarrant with an accompanying editorial that mentions Ardern’s stance. The editorial says, "Our piece keeps the mention of his name to a minimum."

News organizations fear Tarrant will use his trial as a soapbox to promote his white nationalist views, especially after he fired his lawyer and said he’d represent himself.

But Danish journalist Claus Blok Thomsen, who works for the Politiken newspaper and covered the trial of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, said there are dangers in censoring Tarrant. He said that during the Breivik trial, many media outlets, including his own, were careful to report only what happened in court without discussing Breivik’s far-right ideology.

He said it was an approach favored by intellectuals and so-called experts, but when he interviewed the families of the victims, he found many of them were angry.

"They said when we start to censor ourselves, we just make him into a martyr," Thomsen said. "We are not able to learn how mad this guy was, what his thinking was, until everything is out in the light."

In his manifesto, Tarrant describes himself as being born into a working-class family and not being interested in university. He says he made some money investing, although in other internet posts he talks about getting an inheritance when his father died.

In Dunedin, about a five-hour drive south of Christchurch, Tarrant lived in a modest pale-green wooden apartment. His neighbors said they’d see him out running sometimes, but that he mostly kept to himself. At the Anytime Fitness gym, those who knew him described him as polite and interested mainly in pumping weights that build upper-body strength.

Tarrant was also a member of the Bruce Rifle Club, which has a shooting range down a dusty forest road that’s used mostly by hunters and loggers, about a 45-minute drive southwest of Dunedin near the rural town of Milton.

Dozens of boxes of bowling pins stacked in teetering towers and a few fluorescent vests are all there is inside a simple hut at the range. The club closed indefinitely last week after it emerged that Tarrant was a member.

But like much of his life in Dunedin, Tarrant was something of a ghost at the club. Polite, low-key, helpful, normal. Club vice president Scott Williams told the Otago Daily Times that Tarrant seemed "as normal as anyone else" and never mentioned anything about his white supremacist beliefs.

"I think we’re feeling a bit stunned and shocked and a bit betrayed, perhaps, that we’ve had this person in our club who has ended up doing these horrible things," he told the newspaper.

Williams said Tarrant was always helping out around the club, including setting up and packing down the range. He said Tarrant used a hunting rifle and an AR-15, which wasn’t unusual.

One of the few people who has publicly said he had concerns about Tarrant before the attacks is hunting guide Pete Breidahl. He said he complained in 2017 to a local police officer who monitors gun licenses about the disturbing behavior of some members of the rifle club.

In a Facebook video and comments posted online, Breidahl said some club members had Confederate flags, wore camouflage clothing with rank insignia, vilified Muslims and had homicidal fantasies. He claimed to have met Tarrant, calling him "not right." Police said they had no record of a complaint but were looking into Breidahl’s claims.

In his manifesto, Tarrant claims he got approval for his attack from Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo and a nearby island in 2011. Breivik’s lawyer has said that’s very unlikely because his client has limited contact with the outside world from his prison cell.

Thomsen, the journalist, said the biggest fear he and other reporters had when they were covering Breivik was that he would inspire a copycat killer. Now he’s traveled to Christchurch to learn more about what happened there.

"I think it’s safe to say that this is what we feared," he said.

Source: Fox News World

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been hailed on social media by Muslims around the world for her response to two mosque shootings by a white nationalist who killed 50 worshippers. She wore a headscarf at the funerals in line with Islamic custom and swiftly reformed gun laws.

An image of the prime minister embracing a grieving woman was projected onto the world’s tallest tower in Dubai over the weekend with the Arabic word for "peace."

Yet for many Muslims, Ardern’s most consequential move was immediately labeling the attack an act of terrorism.

That stands in contrast to numerous ideologically-motivated mass shootings in North America by white non-Muslim gunmen that were not labeled acts of terrorism, say Muslim leaders and terrorism experts.

For too long, terror attacks have been depicted as a uniquely Muslim problem, with acts of violence described as "terrorist only when it applies to Muslims," said Abbas Barzegar of the Council on American Islamic Relations. He works on documenting and combating anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia.

"We’ve got an issue in this country where anytime a violent act is committed by a Muslim, the media starts at terrorism and then works backward from there," added Colin Clarke, a senior research fellow at The Soufan Center, a New York-based think tank.

It’s the opposite when the shooter is non-Muslim and white, said Clarke, who’s spent his career studying terrorism, particularly Muslim extremism.

The March 15 attacks on the New Zealand mosques raised questions about whether Islamophobia and the threat of violent right-wing extremism was being taken seriously by politicians and law enforcement.

The gunman in the New Zealand massacre called himself a white nationalist and referred to President Donald Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity." Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder in the attacks.

Trump expressed sympathy for the victims, but played down the rise of white nationalism around the world, saying he didn’t consider it a major threat despite data showing it is growing.

The Anti-Defamation League found that right-wing extremism was linked to every extremist killing in the United States last year, with at least 50 people killed. The group said that since the 1970s, nearly three in four extremist-related killings in the United States have been linked to domestic right-wing extremists and nearly all the rest to Muslim extremists.

"It’s really important that this attack not be dismissed as some crazy lone wolf, isolated incident," said Dalia Mogahed, who leads research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, an organization that focuses on research of American Muslims.

"I think it needs to be seen as … a symptom of a wider problem, a transnational rising threat of white supremist violence where anti-Muslim rhetoric is the oxygen for this movement," she said.

A study by the ISPU found that foiled plots involving Muslims perceived to be acting in the name of Islam received 770% more media coverage than those involving perpetrators acting in the name of white supremacy. Another study by Georgia State University found that out of 136 terror attacks in the U.S. over a span of 10 years, Muslims committed on average 12.5 percent of the attacks, yet received more than half of the news coverage.

Mehdi Hasan, a commentator, TV host, columnist and adjunct professor at Georgetown University, said the public has been conditioned since the 9/11 attacks to see terrorists "as people with big beards, brown skin, loud voices shouting in Arabic."

"I don’t think anyone can deny that the entire War on Terror has fed into this idea (of) Muslims as a threat, as ‘the other’, as inherently violent," Hasan said.

Additionally, when non-Muslim white gunmen are the perpetrators of violence, there are often attempts at examining their mental health or childhood in ways not consistently afforded to others, Hasan said.

Some of the most notorious recent attacks by white assailants with racist or extremist views— the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that killed 11 people in October and the church shooting that killed nine black worshippers in Charleston in 2015 — were not labeled terrorism and the assailants were not tried as terrorists. Neither was the shooting by a white assailant at a mosque in Quebec, Canada in 2017 that killed six Muslims.

Clarke, the terrorism expert, said he’s been called to testify on Capitol Hill three times in the past two years about jihadi terrorism. "Where are the hearings about right-wing violence?" he asked.

Meanwhile, sectarian, cultural and ideological differences among the world’s Muslims complicate efforts to uniformly push back against negative stereotypes — including the perception by some that Islam condones or encourages violence.

Such biases have been exacerbated by multiple attacks by Islamic extremists in European capitals and by years of conflicts that seem to pit Sunni and Shiite Muslims against each other. In the Middle East, the victims of extremist violence have often been fellow Muslims, targeted by groups like Islamic State or al-Qaida because they don’t share their hard-line ideology.

The Islamic State group, which promoted an extremist version of Sunni Islam, terrorized millions of people during a five-year reign in parts of Syria and Iraq that only ended Saturday, with the loss of the last speck of land of its self-proclaimed caliphate.

Some leaders of majority-Muslim countries have been accused of exploiting the debate.

Las week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stirred controversy when he was seen as politicizing the New Zealand attacks to galvanize Islamist supporters during a campaign ahead of municipal elections. The attacker had livestreamed the shootings on social media, and Erdogan screened clips of the attack— despite New Zealand’s efforts to prevent the video’s spread.

Mogahed, who co-authored a book called "Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think" based on interviews with tens of thousands of Muslims around the world, said it’s important to ask whether someone needs to be speaking for Islam, particularly when other groups of people are afforded the presumption of innocence when horrific acts are carried out in their name.

Some Muslim community leaders, like Dawud Walid, an imam in Detroit, said they are troubled by demands that Muslims condemn extremism carried out in the name of Islam. This suggests that Muslims share some sort of collective responsibility for the actions of extremists.

Hasan says this "subliminally reinforces the idea that terrorism is a Muslim problem."

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Follow Aya Batrawy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ayaelb

Source: Fox News World

Thousands of people have gathered in the New Zealand city of Christchurch to listen to prayers, songs and speeches at a vigil to remember the 50 people killed in a terrorist attack on two mosques.

One of those watching from a wheelchair was 21-year-old Mustafa Boztas, who was shot in the leg and liver during the March 15 attack at the Al Noor mosque.

Boztas says it was beautiful to see what the community had put together to show they care and that "we are all one."

Officials estimate up to 40,000 people attended the event on a sunny Sunday evening at Hagley Park. It was held on a stage that had been set up for a concert by Canadian singer Bryan Adams that was cancelled after the attacks.

Source: Fox News World

Australia is bracing to be hit by a second powerful cyclone in two days, as Cyclone Veronica bears down on the country’s northwest coast.

The storm is expected to make landfall on Sunday afternoon, a day after Cyclone Trevor hit a remote part of the Northern Territory coast.

Weather authorities are forecasting Veronica will make landfall about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) to the west, on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia state.

While that area is also lightly populated, residents have been warned that because the cyclone is moving slowly they will likely have to shelter for several hours.

A category 3 system on a scale in which 5 is the strongest, Veronica has winds of up to 220 kilometers per hour (136 miles per hour).

Source: Fox News World

The family of a slain 3-year-old boy and a Jordanian prince are among those visiting a New Zealand mosque as it reopens for the first time since a terrorist killed 42 people there.

Hundreds of people stopped at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on Saturday to lay flowers or pray after police removed a cordon and those running the mosque decided to reopen even though they haven’t yet had time to replace the carpet.

Inside the mosque, there were few signs of the carnage from eight days earlier. Crews had replaced windows that worshippers smashed in a desperate attempt to escape when the attacker mowed them down during Friday prayers. Bullet holes were plastered over and painted.

The gunman killed a total of 50 people at two mosques.

Source: Fox News World


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