Christchurch Attack: New Path to Ensure Cultural Diversity?

After the terror attack in Christchurch, NZ, the country needs a new path to ensure the existence and security for cultural diversity

March 21st, 2019
Henrietta Störig, News from Berlin
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The attack on two mosques in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand on Friday by a white supremacist individual left at least 50 people dead and several people critically injured. While condemning the racially and ideologically driven attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters clarify that the country stands for diversity and intercultural respect.

In a press release, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mourns the loss of the 50 individuals in the terror attack that took place on Friday, March 15. She repeatedly condemns the actions and ideology of the attacker, and simultaneously ensures that New Zealand represents cultural diversity and compassion. As an immediate response to the attacks, the country plans to ban semi-automatic rifles and to pass other gun reforms in order to ensure that such an attack will not be repeated.

Winston Peters, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, echoes Ardern’s sentiment for a free and open society that condemns terrorism in any shape or form. Speaking to Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Peters further clarified that showing footage of the attack at political rallies misrepresents New Zealand’s cultural values, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has played extracts at an election rally. A further statement by Ardern affirms that the country will confront the reality that people who oppose racial and cultural diversity live in New Zealand and will accordingly deal with it. Explicit plans for action have not been released yet, neither from the Foreign Ministry nor from the Ministry for Culture, but they can be expected in the following weeks.

Paying tribute to and honoring the victims of the attack, several groups have performed the haka, a traditional Maori dance, in front of the affected mosques. Inter alia, a New Zealand biker gang, and local students each performed the haka in front of the Al Noor mosque to mourn the loss of their friends, families, classmates and fellow New Zealanders. People of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds came together to show and present intercultural unity.


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