A Muslim woman in New Zealand’s second largest city of Dunedin told PM Jacinda Ardern she only feels at home in New Zealand since the Christchurch terror attack, News Hub reported Wednesday.
“There was one woman in the room who said she had lived in New Zealand for more than a decade, [and said] that she had never felt more at home than she had in the last 10 days,” Ardern said.
On Wednesday, Ardern visited the Al Huda Mosque and the An-Nur early learning center and met with members of the Muslim community.
According to the terrorist’s manifesto, Dunedin’s Al Huda Mosque was the original target of the March 15 shooting in which he killed 50 Muslims in two Christchurch mosques.
The Prime Minister said she felt it was appropriate to visit the Dunedin mosque to reiterate her message of safety and inclusion for the Muslim community.
Speaking to media in Dunedin, she said: “I wanted to come, to visit with them, to hear and talk about their concerns and just have a chance for listening, really.”
“This was the city where the perpetrator of the terrorist attack in Christchurch was living at the time and the message I’ve received from our local MPs is that the Muslim community here were acutely aware of that.”
She said there had “absolutely” been enough done to make sure the Muslim community in Dunedin felt safe.
Ardern has received global praise for her inclusive approach to the Muslim community since the attack, with an image of her wearing a hijab projected onto the world’s tallest building in Dubai over the weekend in a show of thanks.
New Zealand came together on Friday, March 22, to support the Muslim community as national TV aired adhan and Jum`ah prayer for the first time.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined thousands of mourners near the Al-Noor mosque, one of two places of worship targeted in last Friday’s terrorist attacks.
Earlier, Ardern encouraged as many New Zealanders as possible to use the day to pause and reflect.
Nationwide ceremonies saw poignant scenes of Kiwis embracing Muslims, and of non-Muslim New Zealand women donning makeshift Islamic headscarves in solidarity.
A day earlier, the country outlawed, at last, the military-style rifles used in the assault with immediate effect.