Two weeks after an alleged white supremacist shooter killed 50 people at two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered a message of hope and resilience in remembrance of the victims.
“The world has been stuck in a vicious cycle of extremism breeding extremism and it must end,” she said during a memorial service on Friday local time.
“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.”
Roughly 20,000 people showed up for Ardern’s Hagley Park speech, which was near one of the mosques where gunfire erupted earlier this month.
Despite the losses in the worst terrorist attack the nation has ever seen, Ardern assured the audience that the sentiments behind it will not find a home in New Zealand.
“An assault on the freedom of any one of us who practices their faith or religion, is not welcome here,” she said. “Violence, and extremism in all its forms, is not welcome here. And over the last two weeks we have shown that, you have shown that, in your actions.”
Ardern, who received a standing ovation, has drawn praise for her empathy and leadership in the wake of the violence, garnering international attention for her immediate announcement that the country would ban military-style weapons as a result of the massacre.