An alleged white nationalist shooter killed at least 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during midday prayers on Friday, when Muslims traditionally gather for service. At least 48 additional people are being treated at a local hospital, according to health officials.
The number of dead and wounded victims represents approximately 1 in every 500 Muslims in the entire country. According to the most recent census in 2013, 46,149 residents identified as Muslim.
Muslims are also a fast-growing group in New Zealand. From 2006 to 2013, the number of people identifying as Muslim increased by almost 28 percent.
The Muslims in New Zealand come from all over the world. About 26 percent were born in New Zealand, 21 percent in the Pacific islands, 27 percent in Asia, and 23 percent in the Middle East and Africa, according to the census.
“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand. They may even be refugees here,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday. “They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand.”
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