Document Type


Publication Date



On March 15, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand, a white supremacist entered a mosque full of worshippers and gunned down over 50 people. He was welcomed into the house of worship as Muslim immigrants and converts were about to start their Friday prayers. News of the attack spread quickly across the globe. Social media news feeds and online sources provided near-instantaneous updates. There were calls to prioritize the lives and stories of the victims and survivors. Although there were calls not to glorify or even humanize the shooter, people understandably professed interest in his writings and his motivation. Once it became known that he was an Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, white supremacist, it did not take long to connect the Christchurch terrorist to others who have gained notoriety for similar mass murders in the West. In the wake of this tragedy and in stark contrast to the race-baiting Donald Trump, the world was treated to a view of a compassionate leader unafraid to state unequivocally that the New Zealand shooter believed in a radical ideology of racism that had to be confronted. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did everything right in that moment: she called out the white supremacy, comforted the Muslim community, and showed her respect for their beliefs. Shortly after the shootings, Ardern called for a global war against racism and she was widely praised for it. In her speech, Arden proclaimed: "To the global community who have joined us today, who reached out to embrace New Zealand, and our Muslim community, to all of those who have gathered here today, we say thank you. And we also ask that the condemnation of violence and terrorism turns now to a collective response. The world has been stuck in a vicious cycle of extremism breeding extremism and it must end. We cannot confront these issues alone, none of us can. But the answer to them lies in a simple concept that is not bound by domestic borders, that isn’t based on ethnicity, power base or even forms of governance. The answer lies in our humanity".