Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Mosque gunman's interview 'needs to be shared with the wider public'

Muslim leaders are calling for an interview with the man convicted of killing 51 members of their community to be made public.

Al Noor Mosque. Photo: RNZ / Eden Fusitu'a

The Royal Commission into the Attack on the Christchurch Mosques set up to find answers about the attack announced yesterday it had spoken to the shooter, Brenton Tarrant, as part of its inquiries.

Tarrant is awaiting sentencing for the murders of 51 people and the attempted murders of 40 others, in the attacks on Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque on 15 March, 2019.

Those in the Muslim community say they and the victims' families deserve to know what he said in the interview.

'We want to know why'

Aya Al-Umari still gets the urge to tag her brother, Hussein, in something on social media, or call him to talk.

"And I'll just be like oh, okay, hang on a minute. That feeling is definitely still there.

"It's not easy, especially for my mum. Burying a son before [a mother] is not the natural way of how things go."

Hussein Al-Umari was 35 years old when he was killed on 15 March, 2019 at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch.

After pleading guilty, the killer will never face a trial, so Aya Al-Umari said her family was relying on a Royal Commission report into the attacks for answers.

"From us as families we really want to know answers. We want to know why, what happened. I'm personally expecting the Royal Commission report to answer these questions."

The government directed the commission to investigate the killer's activities in the lead up to the attacks on 15 March, 2019.

The Royal Commission declined to be interviewed for this story.

But in a statement, its chair, the Honourable Justice Sir William Young, said the commission had spoken to the gunman to "help with some areas of uncertainty".

It's also part of a principal of natural justice - which gives anyone mentioned in a royal inquiry a right of reply.

Commissioner Jacqui Caine said it was a carefully considered decision driven by the need to observe natural justice and the ultimate goal of providing answers in the final report.

"We have given a commitment to the public that we would leave no stone unturned and interviewing the individual is another way we have sought to fulfil that commitment."

While the final report will be public, RNZ understands a decision is yet to be made on whether a full transcript of the interview will be included.

New Zealand Muslim Association president Ikhlaq Kashkari said detail will be distressing for the community, but it's necessary.

"It'll be nice to get a full script of what interview took place and what questions were asked and what answers were given."

Kashkari, who is also on the Muslim reference group for the commission, said going to trial would have provided many more opportunities for questions to be asked.

"Since he has pleaded guilty our concern is that interest that reporters would have had or if they could have dug more into it - our concern is that could be lost."

Anjum Rahman, from the Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand, said she will be pressuring the government for as much detail as possible to be publicly released.

"I think that people really want to make sure that something like this never happens again.

"For the country's healing and for the healing of our community as well, we need to see all the information and as much of what they gained in this interview that they can put into the report.

"It needs to be shared with the wider public."

The gunman's sentencing was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a date is yet to be set.

The commission's report is due to be completed by the end of July.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

Dunne Speaks: It's Time For Matariki Day

The period of Matariki, the celebration of the Māori New Year, which began earlier this week, is being celebrated increasingly as an important national event. While many other countries have their own form of New Year celebrations, Matariki is uniquely ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why We Shouldn’t Be Pushed Into Re-Opening Our Borders

I believe in yesterday as much as Paul McCartney, but it was bemusing to see the amount of media attention lavished last week on the pandemic-related musings by former government science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman, former Prime Minister Helen Clark ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Media Collusion With National’s Attack Lines

For most of the past week, any consumer of this country’s management of Covid-19 would think New Zealand was actually Brazil, or Texas. The media language has been full of claims of “botches” at the border, and laxness and inexcusable errors ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>