New Zealand PM vows never to say gunman’s name
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed never to say the name of the Christchurch mosque gunman.
“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 said in an emotional address at New Zealand’s 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 been charged with murder.
Ms Ardern said: “I implore you, speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless.”
In a special meeting of parliament on Tuesday, Ms Ardern used the Arabic greeting “Al-Salaam Alaikum”, which in English means “peace be upon you”.
The prime minister called on social media platforms to do more to combat terror, after the gunman in Christchurch live-streamed his attack on Facebook.
“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.”
Ms Ardern assured MPs that the attacker would “face the full force of the law”. She encouraged New Zealanders to acknowledge the grief of the Muslim community this Friday – which is the Muslim day of worship and will mark one week since the shooting.
Islamic tradition calls for the cleansing and burial of bodies as soon as possible after death, but because of the slow process of identification and forensic documentation, no bodies have been released to the families yet.
The bodies of some of the victims were being washed and prepared in a Muslim ritual process on Tuesday, partly with the help of volunteers flown in from overseas. New Zealand’s immigration service said it was processing visas for the families of the victims that are seeking to come from abroad to attend funerals.
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, and Somalia.
On Monday, Ms Ardern announced that the nation’s gun laws would be reformed, saying that details would be presented within days.
New Zealand police have said that the killer used military-style assault weapons and took advantage of legal modifications to make them more deadly.