NZ’s Ardern apologizes as report into Mosque attack faults
Wellington, 8th December 2020: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologizes as the report into the Christchurch mosque faults focuses on the Islamist terrorist risks.
According to reports from the Reuters, New Zealand security agencies were “almost exclusively” focused on the perceived threat of Islamist terrorism before a white supremacist gunman killed 51 worshippers last year, a report into the country’s worst massacre found.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry also criticised police for failing to enforce proper checks when granting a firearms license to Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant, who released a racist manifesto shortly before the attack and streamed the shootings live on Facebook.
Despite the shortcomings, the report found no failings within government agencies that would have prevented the attack at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, 2019.
“The commission made no findings that these issues would have stopped the attack. But these were both failings and for that, I apologise,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said after the report was released.
Reportedly, Tarrant was sentenced to life in prison without parole in August for the attack, which left dozens injured.
Ardern received global praise for her compassionate response to the attack and for swiftly banning the sale of the high-capacity semi-automatic weapons Tarrant used. She also launched a global movement against online extremism.
However, authorities were criticised for ignoring repeated warnings from the Muslim community that hate crimes against them were escalating.
According to reports from Reuters, the famous news agency, the 800-page report said there was an “inappropriate concentration of resources” on the threat of Islamist extremist terrorism.
Submissions to the commission by various Muslim organisations described how they felt they were targeted by security agencies while threats against them were not taken seriously.
“We find it concerning that the commissioners found systemic failures and an inappropriate concentration of resources towards Islamic terrorism, and yet state that these would not have made a difference to the terrorist being detected prior to the event,” the Islamic Women’s Council said in a statement.
The report said there was no plausible way Tarrant’s plans could have been detected “except by chance.”
The report found that despite having no history in New Zealand, Tarrant’s application for a firearms license was approved by the police.
The government said it would tighten firearm licensing laws, strengthen counter-terrorism laws, and make changes so police can better record and respond to hate crimes.
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