Prince William has visited the Al Noor mosque in New Zealand on an emotional trip and appealed for “extremism in all forms” to be defeated.
Six weeks to the day a white supremacist massacred 50 people and wounded just as many in two Christchurch mosques, the Prince said he stood with the people of New Zealand, the people of Christchurch and the Muslim community.
Giving a speech at Masjid Al Noor on day two of his tour of the country, he called the attacks at two mosques in the city an “unspeakable act of hate”.
The prince was joined by Imam Gamal Fouda and New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
About 160 people gathered at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch to meet the prince who had earlier told first responders to the March 15 carnage that when “a good friend” is in need “you travel to their place and you put your arms around them.”
A local commentated on how Prince has so much resemblance to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales and the prince pointed to his own experience in having to deal with his own grief.
He said: “Grief can change your outlook. You don’t forget the shock and sadness or pain, but I do not believe grief changes who you are.
The Prince, however, didn’t linger on the point for too long and focussed back to the survivors in admiration and inspiration. He continued by saying “In a moment of acute pain, you stood up, and you stood together. In reaction to the tragedy, you showed something remarkable.
“I stand with you in gratitude to what you have taught the world in these past weeks. I stand with you in optimism… I stand with you in grief. I will support those who survive.
“May the forces of love always prevail over the forces of hate… Extremism in all forms must be defeated.”
The duke travelled to New Zealand on behalf of the Queen and at the request of Ms Ardern.
The population of New Zealand is a modest 4,7 million spread over a large landscape and a Muslim population of 50,000.
On the first day of his tour, he performed a traditional greeting called the hongi. The prince was welcomed to the mosque by the Imam Gamel Fouda, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and attack survivor Farid Ahmed whose wife was among those killed.
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