Up ] Dr. Siddiqui ] Hon. Roy McMurtry ] Barry Leon ] Senator Poy ] Ambassador Wilkins ] Paul Cavallluzzo ] Hon. Peter Milliken ] H. E. Farid Shafiyev ] H. E. R. Argunay ] Prof. Errol Mendes ] Zaib Shaikh ] Goldy Hyder ] Mrs. Vicky Heyman ] Mr. Tony Burman ] Hon Thomas Mulcair ] H. E. Sparwasser ] Mr. Akaash Maharaj ] H. E. Al Raqbani ] [ Mrs. Amy Tisdall ]



As salaam alaikum. Peace be upon you. And peace be upon all of us.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Thank you for the invitation to speak to you tonight.

Time is a funny thing. It can stand still, and it can race by.

On Saturday it will be three months since Friday March 15th - a day which changed New Zealand. 

When a terrorist attempted to tear our community apart, and incite fear and hatred.  

When our Muslim brothers and sisters were attacked in a callous and violent terrorist attack against two mosques in Christchurch.

Fifty-one people were murdered. Forty-nine were wounded. Our world was changed.

This was an attack that affected Muslims most directly: innocent people who were killed as they practiced their religion – a religion which espouses peace and harmony – and who did so in the rightful expectation that their places of worship were sacrosanct, and safe.

New Zealand is a peace loving nation.  Our diversity is something we value and celebrate. This terrorist attack strikes against our core values.

In a country that practices religious tolerance, an attack on one of us, observing their beliefs, is an attack on all of us.  Muslims are a part our community: our friends, our colleagues, our neighbours.  They are us.

As a New Zealander I am heartbroken about what happened.

But I am also proud of the way my government and my fellow New Zealanders have responded.   

Across the length and breadth of the country there has been a profound and genuine sense of grief and loss. 

The overwhelming response of New Zealanders has been revulsion at, and rejection of, the attacker; and expressions of sympathy and support for the innocent victims.

Millions have embraced their Muslim neighbours.  They laid flowers at mosques up and down the country.  Tens of thousands have attended vigils.  They stood guard outside during prayers.

This terrorist may have tried to incite hatred and division within NZ. But he has failed, and the opposite has happened. He failed because the terrorist’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and his extremist ways are not our ways.

The attacker, who was not from New Zealand, will face the full force of New Zealand law.  He has been charged with engaging in a terrorist act, murder, and attempted murder.

Our police have mounted the largest investigation in the history of New Zealand. The families of the victims will have justice. 

Less than one week after the attack, our Government introduced new, strict gun control measures.

We will not remember the terrorist.  As my Prime Minister has made clear, we will not use his name.

Instead we will remember the victims.  We are unified in our mourning with the families. We will remember those who have been lost from our communities.  We will support those who lives have been permanently scarred.

We will celebrate the many acts of bravery that took place on 15 March: including those who risked their lives to save those of others.

While our world changed on the 15th of March, New Zealand’s essential character has not and will not.

New Zealand is and will remain a safe and open society; a place where all communities and all visitors feel comfortable and secure.  We are a compassionate, tolerant people. 

This horrific attack will not shake those core values, because this is who New Zealanders are.

We know that the incident has had a profound effect not just in New Zealand but around the world, including here in Canada. 

We have been overwhelmed by the messages of sympathy, of support and solidarity that have come from our friends all across the world.

We have been humbled to have the global Muslim community standing with us in our bleakest hour. 

In Canada, the support has been incredibly generous.  You share our core values; way of life.  You share our grief.

In the days following the terrorist attack, I had the honour of spending many hours greeting the large numbers of Canadians who came to sign the condolence book at our High Commission.

The prayers, the vigils, and memorials across Canada have also demonstrated this support.

I would also like to thank all of you for your support.  This means a lot to New Zealand.

Speaking personally, there is no way to feel further away from home, than to have to watch an attack like Christchurch from half a world away. But it has been made easier by having such strong support from Canada and Canadians.

Looking ahead, New Zealand is committed to doing everything we can to stop an attack like Christchurch ever happening again.

Violent extremism has no race, religion or colour.  It must be condemned, whatever form it takes.

We will also work to confront the way social media can be used to spread terrorist and violent extremist content

Just under a month ago, New Zealand was pleased to co-host the Christchurch Call with France on May 15th.

The objective of the Christchurch Call is clear: Eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online, while maintaining a free, open and secure internet

Canada has been one the strongest proponents for action. PM Trudeau was one of a select group of world leaders to participate in the Paris meeting.

Our governments, tech companies, and civil society, have committed to work together to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Today, tomorrow and into the future, we must stand together in addressing and eradicating the hate-filled ideologies that led to this attack.

Again, I thank you for your love, your prayers, and your support.

Shukran. As salaam Alaikum.  

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