By Duncan Webb, Labour MP for Christchurch Central
OPINION: On Friday 15 March, I joined hundreds of young people in the square for the children’s climate change strike.
Across the park, others gathered to pray.
The response of the people of Christchurch and around New Zealand to the senseless terror attack that took the lives of 50 members of our community, and injured many others, while they prayed at the mosque has truly reflected our values of compassion and inclusion.
We stand with the Muslim community. They are us.
I was proud to stand by our Prime Minister as she visited the Muslim community leaders and families the day after the terror attack.
She showed enormous compassion in the face of this unprecedented violence, and grieved with New Zealand.
The mass of flowers laid at the gates to Hagley Park stand tribute to those lost. While the police stand vigil outside of the mosque at the time of prayer, I know that all is being done for the Muslim community.
Most important, however, is the need to ensure that the outpouring of aroha, manaakitanga, care and love translates into a more connected and accepting society.
One in which there are no bystanders when the seeds of hate or racism are sown.
The words of Imam Gamal Fouda gave me real hope as he spoke to the many thousands gathered one week after the fateful call to prayer: “We are broken-hearted but we are not broken. We are determined not to let anyone divide us.”
We must all act on that determination, and we are.
The Government will leave no stone unturned in its response to the terror attack, and to protect New Zealanders and keep us safe.
Duncan Webb is the Labour MP for Christchurch Central.