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.
In an attack broadcast live on Facebook, a lone gunman armed with semi-automatic weapons targeted Muslims attending Friday prayers on March 15, killing 51 worshippers and wounding dozens of people.
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.
Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s praise for a man who held up a royal portrait at a protest site in Bangkok has drawn controversy in Thailand, winning acclaim from monarchists and scorn from protesters.
Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah will consult with other rulers to discuss proposals by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the palace said on Saturday, after sources told Reuters the premier had asked the king to declare a state of emergency.
Italy’s Campania region, based on the southern city of Naples, said on Friday it would impose a lockdown to tame the coronavirus and urged the whole country to follow suit as new infections hit a record high.