This photo shows the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. File photo
New Zealand police said on Wednesday they have stepped up patrols at two mosques ahead of the first anniversary of a shooting that killed 51 worshippers, after a distressing image linked to one of the mosques appeared on social media.
A lone gunman used a semi-automatic gun to kill worshippers gathered for Friday prayers at two mosques in the city of Christchurch on March 15 last year in New Zealand's worst peace-time shooting.
The attack prompted the government to tighten gun laws and raised questions about the country's image as a peaceful, law-abiding society.
Meanwhile, New Zealand police arrested a 19-year-old man over an "abhorrent" threat made this week against one of the Christchurch mosques targeted in a mass shooting last year.
As New Zealand prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the massacre by a self-avowed white supremacist that killed 51 Muslim worshippers, police condemned the threat and increased patrols at two mosques that were attacked.
The intimidating message made on an encrypted messaging app reportedly showed a man in a balaclava sitting in a car outside the Al Noor mosque accompanied by threatening text and a gun emoji.
Police said they had increased patrols around the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, the two places targeted in the attack, and would be maintaining a visible presence in the community.
The patrols come after a new threat against the Al Noor mosque emerged this week, media reported.
The community flagged a picture of a man standing outside the mosque wearing a balaclava with a threat against worshippers this week, media said.
Police confirmed they had been notified of the image and said it had been referred to the chief censor for consideration as to whether it should be classified as objectionable material.
Profiles of Western white male supremacists are very similar to profiles of young men recruited by Daesh, al-Qaeda and fellow radicals. Many if not most of these men are uneducated or under-educated,
The two New Zealand police officers who managed to arrest a man accused of killing 51 people at two mosques were given a bravery award on Wednesday.
"I want the world to know who Atta Elayyan was," said 27-year-old Farah Talal, dressed in a green djellaba robe and an elegant white scarf during her visit to Islam's holiest city.
Outside the Al Noor mosque, dozens of leather-clad bikers from the Tu Tangata club performed a traditional Maori haka. They were welcomed by mosque imam Gamal Fouda, who said people of all beliefs and cultures were stopping to pay their respects, and they were all united as New Zealanders.
Officers had been looking for the man since Wednesday, when an acquaintance alerted them to a video he posted on social media of himself leaving the fish at the house and then dancing around the property, Astoria Police Chief Stacy Kelly said.
The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity awarded the Community of Sant’Egidio organisation and Kenyan peace builder Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil as co-honorees of the 2023 award.
The Guinness Book of Records awarded recorded the dog, Bobi, who was born in a small village in central Portugal, the oldest dog in the world, as he reached the age of 30 years and 269 days on Saturday.
Nawal Al-Nuaimi said: “The meeting in itself is a pride, it came to multiply the joy that overwhelmed me by representing my country, the Emirates, in the most important international economic forum, by presenting part of my passion with an Emirati flavour and introducing the world to it, and what made me distraught with the intensity of joy and my tears almost flowed.”