Christchurch shootings: Ardern vows never to say gunman’s name


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New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to never speak the name of the gunman in the Christchurch attacks.

“He sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety – that is why you will never hear me mention his name,” Ms Ardern told parliament.

Last Friday’s shootings at two mosques left 50 people dead and dozens wounded.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a self-described white supremacist, has since been charged with murder.

“I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them,” she said in Wellington, four days after the massacre in the southern city of Christchurch.

“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless,” she said.

In Tuesday’s special meeting of parliament, Ms Ardern also used the Arabic greeting “As-salaam Alaikum” which in English means “peace be upon you”.

The prime minister also called on social media platforms to do more to prevent the sharing of videos like the recorded live-stream of the Christchurch gunman.

“We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published,” she said. “They are the publisher. Not just the postman. There cannot be a case of all profit no responsibility.”

Burials delayed

Ms Ardern assured MPs that the attacker “will face the full force of the law in New Zealand” while encouraging everyone in New Zealand to acknowledge the grief of the Muslim community this Friday – which is both the Muslim day of worship and will mark one week since the shooting.

Owing to the slow process of identification and forensic documentation, there have been no burials of any of the victims so far.

Islamic tradition calls for the cleansing and burial of bodies as soon as possible after death.

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Among the 50 people killed at the two mosques during Friday prayers were Muslim migrants, refugees and residents from countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Turkey, Kuwait, Somalia and others.

On Monday, Ms Ardern announced a reform of the country’s gun laws to be presented within days.

Police say the killer used military-style assault weapons modified to make them more deadly – which is not illegal under current legislation.


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