New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters tells world Muslim leaders Govt focusing on safety for Muslim communities.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has told leaders from more than 40 Muslim-majority nations the Government is focused on ensuring Muslim communities in New Zealand feel safe and secure after the horrific terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch a week ago.

Mr Peters told an emergency meeting in Istanbul of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, called in the wake of the attack, that police stand guard outside all mosques in New Zealand to ensure people can pray in peace, and there is an elevated police presence throughout the country.

New strict gun control measures have already been announced, he said.

“We will confront the way social media is used to spread vile hatred. For extremism has no race, religion or colour. It must be condemned, whatever form it takes,” he told the meeting.

“A full inquiry will be conducted to help to do everything we can to stop such a senseless attack in the future,” Mr Peters said.

“Whenever and wherever a terrorist strikes, the aim is to provoke fear and panic. In New Zealand, it has failed. It failed because our thoughts are not the terrorist’s thoughts, and his extremist ways are not our ways.  And to be clear, in New Zealand hate speech is not tolerated,” the Foreign Minister said.

“While everything else may have changed in our country on 15 March, New Zealand’s essential character has not and will not.

“New Zealand is and will remain a safe and open society. A place where our international visitors feel comfortable and secure.  We are a compassionate, tolerant people,” he said.

“This horrific attack cannot shake those core values, because this is who New Zealanders are.”

Mr Peters said the Government has “been overwhelmed by messages of sympathy, of support and of solidarity that have come from our friends all across the world.

“We have been humbled to have the global Muslim community stand with us in our bleakest hour.

“Today, tomorrow and into the future, let us continue to stand together in stamping out the hate-filled ideologies that led to last Friday’s terrible tragedy. Out of despair, let us work with a renewed vigour to spread tolerance, compassion and understanding,” he said.

Mr Peters told the Islamic organisation that the alleged terrorist was arrested within 21 minutes.

“From here, this person will face the full force of New Zealand law. He will spend the rest of his life in isolation in a New Zealand prison,” he said.

The foreign minister told the meeting that today New Zealand stopped for a Call to Prayer followed by two minutes silence.

“This time next week, we will have a national memorial service. We hope many at this forum will be represented.  None of this, of course, could ever be an adequate expression of our national grief,” Mr Peters said.


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