19 MARCH 2019
Our CEO Sajda Mughal has written about how New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has set an example for world leaders on how to unite communities in the face of hate and terror.
Read more here or read the piece below: https://bit.ly/2FlMl0X.
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern stood in parliament and made a strong, emotional speech about the Christchurch terrorist, notably opening with the Islamic greeting ‘As-Salaam-Alaikum.’
‘He is a terrorist, he is a criminal, he is an extremist, but he will, when I speak, be nameless, and to others 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 him nothing – not even his name.’
She spoke about him in exact terms, rightfully named him a terrorist, and promised to never use his name. No other world leaders, including our UK prime minister have reacted in this way to an Islamophobic attack. Jacinda’s stance is incredibly tough, yet deeply compassionate. She has shown the Muslim community what true care is, at a time when we are the most vulnerable.
Her words have made an impact, but her actions have spoken even louder.
After the attack she visited the Muslim community at the Al Noor Mosque mosque in Christchurch; wearing a hijab in an act of solidarity. She was seen to embrace individuals while they grieved, it was raw, powerful and emotional to witness, especially as a Muslim myself.
It seems such a simple act of humanity, but it has served to show this community that they are a valued and an essential part of society. Again, how many worldleaders have actually done that in a way that is clearly genuine and empathetic after a terrorist attack?
Our prime minister may have visited the Finsbury Park Mosque after the horrific far-right terrorist attack in 2017, but it stands in stark contrast to the kind of leadership and humanity exhibited by Jacinda Ardern in these last few days.
Ardern has also promised to help affected families with funeral costs stating:
‘Provision exists regardless of the immigration status of those who have lost their lives and regardless of the immigration status of their loved ones. It includes the cost of burial. It includes support for lost income and that can last for not just months but it can last for years. So I give you that assurance.’
To hear a world leader make such a statement is quite remarkable, especially in this day and age where Islamophobia and anti-immigration sentiment is dangerously rising.
Not only this, but she has taken swift action after the attack to change New Zealand’s gun laws. She met with her cabinet this week to discuss these changes, which are expected to include a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
More world leaders need to embrace her way of leadership which I can guarantee you will help to diffuse any community tensions there maybe after such a horrific act of terror. She has shown strength and acted fast to bring about real change and not leave the Muslim community feeling alienated and marginalised. Her unique mixture of practicality, strength and empathy has made a real and tangible impact.
Although the effects of this act of terror will be deep and long-lasting, especially for those families who have lost loved ones and the individuals that have been traumatised by this act of violence, her course of action has made a positive difference in such a dark time.
As tensions and fear are increasing worldwide, we need more world leaders like this to bring about unity and heal division.