Burials are beginning in New Zealand as the country mourns the loss of 50 Muslim worshipers gunned down by a white supremacist Friday in the deadliest attack in New Zealand’s history. The worshipers killed in the Christchurch massacre came from around the world. Most of them were immigrants, or refugees who had come to New Zealand seeking safety. Six Pakistanis, four Jordanians, four Egyptians and at least three Bangladeshis are among the dead. The Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry said that six of the victims were of Palestinian origin. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been calling for unity and support for Muslim communities following the horrific attack. On Friday, she was asked about her phone call with President Trump.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: “I spoke with Donald Trump this morning. He sought to call us directly. He very much wished for his condolences to be passed on to New Zealand. He asked what offer of support the United States could provide. My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.”
Ardern has been widely praised for her response to the attacks. In the immediate aftermath, the youngest female head of state vowed to reform gun laws and visited with Muslim communities in New Zealand, wearing a hijab as a sign of respect. She also recently pledged to never use the terror suspect’s name, instead calling on people to say the names of those killed in the attacks. We’ll have more on the Muslim community in New Zealand after headlines.