New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stepped up to the plate as the hands-on leader the nation needed in wake of the deadly terrorist attacks in Christchurch. Last Friday, a 28-year-old Australian man opened fire at two separate New Zealand mosques, taking the lives of 50 innocent people and leaving dozens of others wounded.
He has since been taken into custody. The tragic event stunned the world and took away the sense of safety and security Christchurch citizens once had. Now, one week after the attacks, Ardern joined hundreds of mourners in a call to prayer, according to NPR.
The call to prayer took place at Hagley Park, which is adjacent to the Al Noor Mosque, where the majority of the carnage occurred. It was there that the gunman strapped on a body camera and started recording before opening fire on the unsuspecting worshipers. The recording was posted online where the disturbing content began rapidly circulating the internet. In wake of the tragic events that happened there, the Al Noor Mosque has been temporarily closed. Next week it will again reopen for those who want to worship there.Today, people from all walks of life joined together in support of the victim's families and the Muslim religion as a whole. Ardern wore a black headscarf as a sign of respect and gave an impassioned speech to the many gathered.
"New Zealand mourns with you, we are one," she said during the prayer service that was broadcast nationwide.
In addition to Ardern, who led the prayer, the imam of the Al Noor mosque, Gamal Fouda, stepped forward to thank the large gathering for their support and compassion.
"This terrorist sought to tear our nation apart with an evil ideology... but we have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable. We are brokenhearted, but we are not broken."In the short time since the attacks, Ardern hasn't wasted any time in working to modify policies in order to prevent another occurrence like this one. Her government is in the process of establishing a new law that will place a ban on all semi-automatic weapons. Those who are already in possession of these types of weapons will need to set up a time to hand them over to law enforcement. Those who turn over their weapons won't face any sort of penalty and will receive compensation. It is Ardern's plan to eventually have all of the weapons that are collected destroyed in hopes of preventing another massacre like this one.