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New Zealand PM says mosque attacker will face ‘full force of law’

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the terrorist who killed scores of Muslims at two mosques in the country last Friday will face “the full force of the law.”


In a condolence speech in parliament on Tuesday, Ardern said she would also never speak the name of the 28-year-old Australian attacker, who she said “sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety.”

“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,” she said in the speech, which she opened with an Arabic “as salaam alaikum” message of peace to Muslims.

Ardern also urged people not to give the terrorist the notoriety he sought by speaking his name.

“I implore you: speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them,” she said.

New Zealand was struck by grief and shock after a gunman opened fire at two mosques in the South Island city of Christchurch during prayers last Friday, killing at least 50 people and wounding some 50 others, nine of whom are in critical condition.

The gunman was charged with one count of murder at Christchurch District Court on Saturday. Ardern assured parliament that he would face further charges, saying “he will face the full force of the law in New Zealand.”

The 38-year-old leader also urged the country to support its grieving Muslim community, particularly when they return to pray on Friday.

“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,” she said.

In the wake of the terrorist attack, Ardern has vowed to reform the country’s gun laws, which allowed the assailant to legally purchase the weapons he used in the terrorist attack, including semi-automatic rifles.

Ardern said that the “worst act of terrorism on our shores” had exposed a range of weaknesses in the country’s gun laws. “I strongly believe that the vast majority of gun owners in New Zealand will agree with the sentiment that change needs to occur.”

New Zealanders have already begun answering government appeals to hand in their weapons. Police said they did not have data available on the number of weapons surrendered since Friday.

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