New Zealanders thought it could never happen to them, but the attack on two mosques had been brewing for a long time.
One year ago, 51 people were killed and 49 injured when a gunman opened fire at two mosques during Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Human rights adviser Shaymaa Arif was working as a legal advocate for refugees at that time.
“‘At least we’re not the US. At least we’re not Australia.’ How many times had I heard these words?” Arif remembers.
She says that it had just been “a matter of time until something like this happened” and argues that the attack was not an isolated act. “It had been brewing.”
Two months before the shooting, a man had approached Arif in a carpark and said: “A lot of people don’t want you here.”
A group of students shouted at her: “Hey, look! It’s a terrorist!”
And she says that most Muslims in New Zealand have similar stories to share.
In the fourth episode of #AJOPINION, Arif warns that Christchurch “could happen again” – and not just in the United States or Australia.
This episode of #AJOPINION was produced by Aisyah Shah Idil and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Seena Khalil.