Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | ePaper
Jacinda Ardern vows never to utter name of Christchurch gunman
The Telegraph :
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister, vowed on Tuesday never to utter the name of the twin-mosque gunman as she opened a sombre session of parliament with an evocative "as salaam alaikum" message of peace to Muslims.
"He will face the full force of the law in New Zealand," Ms Ardern promised grieving Kiwis, while promising that she would deprive the man who slaughtered 50 people in Christchurch of the publicity he craved.
"He sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety," she told assembled lawmakers of the 28-year-old Australian accused of the slaughter.
"That is why you will never hear me mention his name. He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless."
"I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lostÂ Â Â rather than the name of the man who took them."
Lawyer Richard Peters, who was assigned to represent Brenton Tarrant at his initial court appearance on Saturday, told the New Zealand Herald that Tarrant dismissed him that day.
A judge ordered Tarrant to return to New Zealand's High Court on April 5 for his next hearing on one count of murder, though he is expected to face additional charges. The 28-year-old Australian is being held in isolation in a Christchurch jail.
Dressed in black, the 38-year-old prime minister opened her remarks in parliament with the symbolism of the greeting uttered across the Islamic world.
"Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh" she said -'May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you too.'
She closed her address by noting that "on Friday, it will be a week since the attack, members of the Muslim community will gather for worship on that day. Let us acknowledge their grief as they do."
The shooter's desire for attention was made clear in a manifesto sent to Ms Ardern's office and others before Friday's massacre and by his livestreamed footage of his attack on the Al Noor mosque.
The video prompted widespread revulsion and condemnation. Facebook said it removed 1.5 million versions of the video during the first 24 hours, but Ms Ardern expressed frustration that the footage remained online, four days later.
"We have been in contact with Facebook; they have given us updates on their efforts to have it removed, but as I say, it's our view that it cannot - should not - be distributed, available, able to be viewed," she said. "It is horrendous and while they've given us those assurances, ultimately the responsibility does sit with them."