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‘Asleep on the job’: Police warned of another mosque threat before massacre

“If there had been such a strategy, then the message would have alerted every mosque in the country to a threat to one mosque on Friday 15 March 2019 and for all mosques to take extra security measures. Whether or not the threat was connected to the Christchurch killer is irrelevant.”

Armed with semi-automatic weapons, Australian Brenton Tarrant, a suspected white supremacist, attacked two mosques in Christchurch that day, broadcasting the country’s worst mass shooting live on Facebook.

Tarrant has pleaded guilty and a court will begin his sentencing on August 24.

The council’s submission said police, security services and government representatives were focused only on combating terrorism by Muslim extremists, leaving the community vulnerable to the rising alt-right movement.

“Evidence indicates that public sector employees were, at best, asleep on the job and, at worst, intentionally ignoring our pleas and actively undermining our work,” Aliya Danzeisen, who leads the group’s government engagement, said in a statement.

Police said no comment would be made until the Royal Commission had concluded. However, on the specific threat in the report it said the person was identified and formally warned.

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A government spokesman said the government would wait for the commission’s report before making any comment.

The Royal Commission inquiry into the massacre is due to report its finding by the end of July.

Threats to the Muslim community have continued since the attack, with a threatening social media post appearing earlier this year.

New Zealand, unlike the United States or Britain, has never recorded specific hate crime offences, raising questions about what signs security agencies may have missed.

The council estimates every Muslim woman who wears the headscarf in New Zealand has been abused in public at some time.

Reuters

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