New Zealand postpones Christchurch shooter’s trial till after Ramadan

New Zealand postpones Christchurch shooter's trial till after Ramadan

The trial of Brenton Tarrant was scheduled for May 4, 2020, which coincides with Ramadan, but has been rescheduled.

September 12th, 1:34 pmSeptember 12th, 1:34 pmSarah Trad

The trial of the Christchurch shooter has been postponed a month to avoid coinciding with the holy month of Ramadan. It was originally set to take place on May 4, 2020, but High Court judge Cameron Mander explained that "prosecutors had notified the court that 'difficulties have arisen with the trial date because it clashes with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which occurs over the month of May next year'."

Back in May, 29-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant opened fire on two mosques – Linwood mosque on Linwood Avenue and Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue – in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people. He's been charged with the murder of 51 people, 40 counts of attempted murder, and one terrorism charge.

The family of some victims along with several witnesses "to be called at trial" are Muslim, thus making their attendance of a probable six-week-long trial during the month of Ramadan quite difficult and tiring.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and the most sacred in Islamic culture, during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset — which could be over 12 hours in Christchurch.

Brenton Tarrant in court, March 2019. [SCMP]

According to Reuters, the trial is now scheduled to take place on June 2.

The court is facing another decision to be made before the launch of the trial — which might take longer than six weeks. A brief hearing scheduled on Oct. 3 will tackle "a request by the defense team to move the trial away from Christchurch." The lawyers of Tarrant had asked back in August if the trial could take place in Auckland, "where Tarrant is being held at a maximum security prison," as Time reported.

Judge Mander will hear arguments for the venue change during the next Oct. 3 hearing.

Prior to the trial's postponement, the Muslim community in New Zealand "had criticized the justice system for the time taken to bring the accused man to trial, and for holding it during Ramadan."

New Zealand was a great example of solidarity to its Muslim community

After the horrendous mass shooting, described as the worst in New Zealand's modern history, locals and especially Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern showed great solidarity with all those who were affected. Women all over the county donned the hijab in a show of solidarity with Muslims and Islam.

PM Ardern won the respect of millions around the world at the time for wearing a black hijab when meeting members of the Muslim community following the shootings. She also refused to say the attacker's name on TV to avoid publicizing his identity.

A week after the attack, the country came together in a national day of reflection, which saw Muslims and non-Muslims, including Ardern, appear in hijab. During the service – which took place on a Friday – the Muslim Call to Prayer (adhan) was broadcast across the country followed by two minutes of silence in memory of those who lost their lives in the terror attack.

The hijab, which has long been assumed to be a sign of oppression, was a sign of unity, respect for Muslim women, Islam, and all religions on that day.

Original Article