Barack Obama Shared a Call to Action After the Tragic Mosque Shooting in New Zealand
Barack Obama offered his condolences following shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15. "Michelle and I send condolences and strength to the people of New Zealand. We grieve with you and with the Muslim community," the former president wrote on Instagram. He shared his message alongside a 2015 photo of himself seated with a student wearing a hijab at a Dignity For Children Foundation classroom in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Obama added, "Every single one of us, every color, every creed, has a daily responsibility to rally against hate and bigotry in all their forms and to stand up for what is good, and decent, and true."
The shootings, which took place at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre, have been designated by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand Police as a terrorist attack. According to the police's latest statement, 49 people were killed in the attack and 48 people are being treated at the hospital. A 28-year-old man and reported white nationalist has been charged with murder, and two others have been arrested in connection with the attack.
Speaking at a press conference following the attack, Prime Minister Ardern said, "We were not a target because we are a safe harbor for those who hate. We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism." She added, "We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it."