High-tech security cameras powered by artificial intelligence gadgets that detect active shooters are being installed at Christchurch's Al Noor Masjid where 44 Muslim worshippers were gunned down in March.

The state-of-the-art surveillance system is designed to detect an active shooter and alert police and other emergency services before shots are even fired.

The New Zealand mosque is understood to be the first place of worship in the world to be protected by the technology.

It's already been installed at several schools and public spaces in the United States.
Shagaf Khan, president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury which runs Al Noor, welcomed the move to give his congregation extra safety measures.


"I wasn't aware of this technology, it's amazing," he said.

"If somebody comes with a weapon, it will give a notification within three seconds to authorities and police.

"I hope that many mosques and Islamic schools get a chance to place this gun detection system."

The artificial intelligence (AI) security system has been designed by new Silicon Valley start-up, Athena Security.

It has arrived in New Zealand and is being cleared by Customs before a local security firm installs it at the Deans Ave masjid.

The San Francisco-based company says it's the first AI-powered gun detection security platform in the world and is capable of "instantly and accurately" detecting an active shooter with a gun before they fire a weapon and alerting law enforcement to proactively help prevent crimes before they occur.

When a threat is detected, it can warn first responders, any on-site personnel and local authorities "within a matter of seconds", Athena claims, bridging a "crucial time gap that could mean the difference between life and death".

It has been developed and trained on scenarios developed in partnership with law enforcement agencies.


Athena has partnered with Qatar-based Al-Ameri International Trading which is behind the Keep Mosques Safe initiative (KMS) launched after the March 15 terror attack in Christchurch where two mosques were targeted by a lone gunman and 51 Muslims were killed.

Al-Ameri International Trading, backed by Islamic charities and foundations, plans to finance the installation of the AI-powered security system in mosques all over the world.

"The mass shooting at the Al-Noor Mosque was an unspeakable tragedy that no community should have to suffer," said Athena Security co-founder and chief executive Lisa Falzone.

"The Keep Mosques Safe initiative is an important step in giving mosques the tools to better protect themselves from extremist individuals that wish to do them harm, so we can help prevent horrific events like this in the future."

Fahad A.B. Al-Ameri, chief executive and founder of Al-Ameri International Trading, reached out to Al Noor leaders after New Zealand's worst ever terror attack.

Al-Ameri wanted to help support the New Zealand Islamic community and he started searching for an intelligent system that could help prevent any future tragedies.

He hopes that the system could help protect "innocent worshippers, men, women and children in the houses of worship" around the world.