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New Zealand mosque attacks evidence

The director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews Dr Tim Wilson has been giving evidence to The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Attack on Christchurch Mosques set up by the New Zealand government.

In March, 50 people were killed and another 50 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in the deadliest attack in New Zealand’s history.

The Royal Commission has been talking to a wide range of national and international experts both in and outside of government, on national security systems, countering terrorism and extremism, and social cohesion.

Recently Commission Chair, Sir William Young, and member, Jacqui Caine, travelled to the United Kingdom to engage with international experts including Sir Mark Sedwill, Cabinet Secretary and National Security Advisor; Bernard Hogan-Howe, former Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police; Jonathan Evans, former Director General of MI5 and Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life; Andrew Parker, Director General of MI5; and Dr Wilson.

Sir William said: “We’re following a range of leads and seeking out the experiences of international experts as we grapple with the questions raised by the events of 15 March and how we help prevent such attacks in the future.”

Invited as an expert witness, Dr Wilson spoke of an emerging template of mass shootings as performance spectacles.

He said: “Such events are historically very rare but seem to be becoming more celebrated, especially on the furthest fringes of the far-right. A particular concern is the emergence of a sort of institutionalised memory amongst would-be killers of how to stage such atrocities most effectively to achieve maximum publicity.”

More information about The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Attack on Christchurch Mosques.

For more information about CSTPV.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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