Published: Mon, March 25, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Royal Commission of Inquiry into Christchurch terror attack

Royal Commission of Inquiry into Christchurch terror attack

"May your spirits go to the top of Aoraki. and look down on us and give us peace and love", one speaker reportedly said, using the traditional Maori name for Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak.

He said, "New Zealand today fell silent in honor of the mosque attacks' martyrs".

People attend the Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019.

The Al Noor mosque was taken over by police for investigations and security reasons after alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant attacked Muslims gathered there and at a smaller mosque for Friday prayers, killing 50 people.

Through her stoic resolve and empathy for the victims, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern became the reluctant face of the terror attack that left 50 Muslim worshipers dead in Christchurch earlier this month.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern waves as she leaves Friday prayers at Hagley Park in Christchurch, New Zealand.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern waves as she leaves Friday prayers at Hagley Park in Christchurch New Zealand. Credit PA
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern waves as she leaves Friday prayers at Hagley Park in Christchurch New Zealand. Credit PA

Ardern said on Sunday that a national remembrance service would be held on March 29 to honour the victims, most of whom were migrants or refugees. Ardern, who swiftly denounced the attack as terrorism, announced a ban on military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles under tough new gun laws on Thursday.

A student from one of the nearby schools, Okirano Tilaia, reportedly told the assembled crowd: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can".

Nationwide ceremonies saw poignant scenes of Kiwis embracing Muslims, and of non-Muslim New Zealand women donning makeshift Islamic headscarves in solidarity.

As New Zealand continued to mourn and ask questions about how such an attack could have happened in the peaceful Pacific nation, the victims' families spoke about their losses. "Hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can".

Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, who visited the Al Noor mosque, said the attack assailed human dignity.

Shahadat Hossain, whose brother Mojammel Haque was killed in the attack, told Reuters he would bring his body back to Bangladesh.

Kittitas County Sheriff's Deputy Killed in Shootout
An investigation into the shooting will be made by the Ellensburg Police Department at the request of the Sheriff's Office. Chavez was undergoing surgery for a shattered femur Wednesday, authorities said at a Wednesday morning news conference.


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