Shahed Amanullah, a Muslim American tech entrepreneur from Northern Virginia, says it was hard to sleep after watching a video of a right-wing extremist open fire at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“It was the picture we’ve all had in our heads for years. And it became real,” Amanullah said of the 17-minute video, apparently recorded by the attacker as he walked room to room, shooting at worshippers.
A 28-year-old Australian man has been arrested and charged with the attack, which left 49 people dead. Authorities described the man as an “extremist, right-wing violent terrorist.”
In a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto posted online, the alleged gunman encouraged more attacks on Muslims worldwide and said he hoped the violence would worsen political divisions in the United States.
As Muslim Americans attended prayer services across the country Friday, many worried about “copycat” incidents, especially now that potential attackers have a video demonstration and training manual, said Amanullah.
“Muslims at prayer are uniquely vulnerable. They’re literally lined up with their backs toward you. You couldn’t get more vulnerable than that,” Amanullah said.