CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has spoken out on the mosque attacks.
With the death toll rising to 50, Dalziel said March 15 would be forever remembered as a day of incredibly tragic loss.
She said the intent of the attack was to target a city and country that was well known for its safety.
“This hatred was not born here,” Dalziel said.
“It was imported and designed to inflict damage on a safe city and a safe country. We must use this as an opportunity to reject racism, to reject the singling out of people for their religious beliefs or their cultural practices. Nobody should feel fear in their place of worship.”
A copy of the shooter’s 16,000-word manifesto was sent to New Zealand’s Prime Minister 10 minutes before the attack and has widely circulated throughout the public.
“The attack was designed ... to divide. Hatred always is. I’m not going to give airtime to the motives disposed by this cowardly person who has attacked a vulnerable community in their time of worship,” Dalziel said.
She called for city leaders to make the point that diversity united our cities.
“Leaders need to reassure their communities that they are one community, and we respect the right to worship, to practice our cultural beliefs, to bring our languages and all of our traditions to whatever country one settles in.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised changes to gun laws in New Zealand in the wake of the attack.
The mosque shooter had held a gun license since 2017 and used two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns, and a lever-action firearm in the attack.
More on the New Zealand attack: