Prince William has reconnected with the Muslim community in New Zealand, which suffered the loss of 51 lives during last year’s terrorist attacks in Christchurch.
The shooting was the deadliest in New Zealand’s modern history, and the government responded by banning most semi-automatic weapons.
Australian Brenton Tarrant opened fire at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in March 2019. The mass shooting was the most lethal in New Zealand’s modern history.
Tarrant, meanwhile, is scheduled to be sentenced after pleading guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder – and one count of terrorism.
The Duke of Cambridge, this week, joined a Zoom call with Imam Alani Lateef and Imam Gamal Fouda and others. The conversation also included Farid Ahmad, whose wife died in the attack. Representatives from the Muslim Association of Canterbury were part of the chat, too.
“I’m really proud of all of you, the whole community and the New Zealand government for how you have all dealt with such an atrocity,” said the duke.
“You are a role model for how something so tragic can be negotiated with the utmost grace and dignity. I stand here ready to help you.”
The Duke of Cambridge asked how the killings were still being felt by the community today.”
He had visited Christchurch in the aftermath of the attack last year. He also visited after Christchurch was devastated by 2011’s earthquake, which killed 180-plus people.
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern gained global praise for her response the mosque attacks at the time. The country’s ban of most semi-automatic weapons was among her foremost actions.
“The youth are making Islamic identity normal so Islamophobia is something of the past rather than something continuing to fight every single day,” she said.
“People are continuing to not only feel safe but have their voices heard and being seen in New Zealand.
“I think with everything that happened we are being heard and seen and things are changing.
“I implore you – speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety but we, in New Zealand, will give nothing – not even his name.”