‘One of New Zealand’s darkest days’
International | Welcome to the age of ‘Selfie Jihad,’ Yazidi endurance, and more
by Mindy Belz
Posted 3/15/19, 01:58 pm
NEW ZEALAND: Three men and one woman are in custody following Friday’s mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques that killed 49 Muslim worshippers and wounded at least 48 others. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the worst terror attack in the country’s history “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
- Welcome to the age of “Selfie Jihad.” The gunman, identified by police as Brenton Tarrant—a 28-year-old white Australian-born man—livestreamed the shooting for 17 minutes via Facebook (I watched it before Facebook took it down, and it’s harrowing and surreal in how it begins like a video game but with real people and real blood). Tarrant also published online a 74-page manifesto that indicated he planned the attack for two years and wanted to influence debates over firearms and “the politics of the United States.” In the United States, police in New York, Minneapolis, and other cities said they had stepped up security around mosques.
- Christians make up about 70 percent of New Zealand’s population of 4.25 million, with Muslims accounting for 1 percent, though their numbers are rising rapidly: The entry sign at Gosford Anglican Church in Christchurch reads, “Standing with our Muslim friends.”
IRAQ: Martine is no different from the more than 6,000 Yazidis taken captive by ISIS and held for years, except for this one thing I can’t get past when I first meet her: She is 12 years old. My WORLD Magazine feature reports on how she and others endured, and what is ahead as ISIS “families” dissolve.
What’s true in Sweden is generally true everywhere: “None of the 150 Swedish citizens who have returned home after joining ISIS have been convicted of crimes committed while abroad.” Yet more attention is being devoted “to ISIS fighters who want to forget their crimes and live in western countries, than to the reported discovery of the be-headed remains of 50 Yazidi women likely executed by ISIS,” writes Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Yazidi Nadia Murad.
ISRAEL: Israeli Defense Forces hit in airstrikes about 100 military targets in Gaza after Hamas apparently launched two rockets on Tel Aviv Thursday, forcing intercepts by the anti-missile shield Iron Dome and prompting municipal authorities in Israel’s largest city to open bomb shelters.
AFGHANISTAN: A top Afghan official blasted the Trump administration for shutting out the Kabul government in peace talks with the Taliban. “The last people to find out are us,” said Afghan national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib, who said the United States left officials waiting in hotel lobbies at the latest United Arab Emirates session.
VENEZUELA: The United States has revoked more than 340 visas of Venezuelans since Monday, part of the ongoing campaign to pressure Nicolás Maduro to step down as president. Border clashes and blackouts did not stop one pastor and his team from delivering food and medicine to needy families, reports WORLD Magazine’s Jamie Dean.
RUSSIA: The former deputy director of the CIA said the controversy of possible Russian interference and influence peddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election “has put on hold all serious discussions in government and political circles in both capitals.” Discussions over three days in Moscow left John McLaughlin, a CIA veteran who started work with the agency in 1972, convinced “tensions are higher than at any time since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and in some ways are more susceptible to misunderstanding and inadvertent conflict.”
Vladivostok officials plan to erect a 125-foot statue of Jesus Christ on a site once designated for a monument of Vladimir Lenin.
SCOTLAND: Everybody loves a happy-ending dog rescue story, and the Inverness Coastguard obliged during Storm Gareth.
IRELAND: Kidnapped and taken as a slave, Patrick of Ireland through his conversion and sacrifice leaves Western Protestants also in his debt this St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on Sunday.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.