NZ to hold national remembrance for Christchurch next Friday

The terrorist attack killed 50 people in Christchurch. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 March 2019
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NZ to hold national remembrance for Christchurch next Friday

  • The interfaith service will take place in Christchurch two weeks after the devastating attack
  • The slaughter has rocked the normally laid-back country and prompted horror worldwide

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: New Zealand will hold a national remembrance service on March 29 for the victims of the Christchurch mosque massacre and their families, the prime minister’s office announced on Sunday.
The interfaith service will take place in Christchurch two weeks after an Australian white supremacist shot and killed 50 Muslims who had arrived for Friday prayers at two mosques in the city on March 15.
“The national remembrance service provides an opportunity for Cantabrians (Christchurch-area residents), New Zealanders and people all around the world to come together as one to honor the victims of the terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.
“In the week since the unprecedented terror attack there has been an outpouring of grief and love in our country.
“The service will be a chance to once again show that New Zealanders are compassionate, inclusive and diverse, and that we will protect those values.”
The slaughter has rocked the normally laid-back country and prompted horror worldwide, heightened by the gunman’s cold-blooded livestreaming of the massacre.
Since then, New Zealanders have responded with an outpouring of support for the country’s small Muslim community.
The attack also left dozens of people injured, some critically.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, was arrested within minutes of the massacre and has been charged with murder.


Indian minister steps up calls to deport illegal immigrants

Updated 47 min 37 sec ago
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Indian minister steps up calls to deport illegal immigrants

  • National Register of Citizenship will be extended across country, says Amit Shah

NEW DELHI: New Delhi will deport all illegal immigrants found in the country, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah told Parliament on Wednesday.

The warning signaled a heightening of a campaign that some critics say is “aimed at alienating the Muslim minority.”

The minister’s statement comes as the state of Assam is set to release its final list of the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), an exercise to identify illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh. The Supreme Court demanded that the NRC should submit its report at the end of this month.

Of the state’s 31 million residents, almost 4 million were missing from the NRC’s report last year. Most were poor Muslims. Illegal immigration was a core election issue for the ruling right-wing party Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)

“The government will identify illegal immigrants living in every inch of the country’s soil and will deport them in line with international law,” said Shah.

He added that the NRC would be extended across the country. 

Shah, a Hindu hard-liner and the second most powerful figure in the Narendra Modi government, has been belligerently opposed to illegal Muslim immigrants, who he recently described as “termites.”

Critics have questioned the need for the NRC throughout the country.

The BJP does not want to clarify what it truly means because that is part of their politics, but the opposition leaders are also silent.

Hilal Ahmad, Academic

“This is a witch hunt of the minority under the false concern of illegal immigration,” said SubHajjit Naskar of Jadavpur University.

“The way the NRC is being implemented in Assam is damaging for our secular and democratic values.”

Naskar told Arab News: “The register is part of the broader majoritarian agenda to make India a Hindu state where minority Muslims will be treated as second class citizens.” 

Dr. Hilal Ahmad, associate professor at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies, said: “The substantial part of Shah’s statement is that NRC is not entirely about Muslims. It also claims that it’s an institutional process with legal support and it’s not at all concerned with Muslims.”

Ahmad added: “The BJP does not want to clarify what it truly means because that is part of their politics, but the opposition leaders are also silent. They are also trying to consolidate the impression that the NRC is anti-Muslim.”

Suhas Chakma, director of the Rights and Risks Analysis Group, said that “Shah’s plans are not practical.”

“How you are going to identify illegal migrants? Have you spoken to Bangladesh about the deportation? What the BJP government is trying to do is not implementable. It is a recipe for chaos,” said Chakma.

Sabber Ahmad, from the Rohingya Human Rights Initiative, a New Delhi-based group serving the persecuted minority community from Myanmar, said the “Indian government’s stance on illegal migrants creates panic among the small Rohingya community living here.”

“I fled Myanmar in 2012 and India gave me a new lease of life. New Dehli should show some humanity in dealing with people like us,” Ahmad told Arab News.

“India has a history of sheltering persecuted minorities from around the world. They must continue this proud tradition,” Ahmad added.