Praise grows for Jacinda Ardern at home and abroad as New Zealand PM promises never to say Christchurch shooter's name

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media on March 16, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed never to utter the name of the suspected Christchurch gunman, as praise for her response to the mass shooting continues to grow.

The nation’s first parliamentary sitting on Tuesday commenced with a prayer in Arabic from Imam Nizam ul haq Thanvi. Ardern began her address with the traditional Arabic greeting “as-salaam Alaikum,” which translates to “peace be upon you.”

“He sought many things from his act of terror,” said Ardern. “But one was notoriety and that is why you will never hear me mention his name.”

“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless. And to others I implore you, speak the names of those who are lost rather than the name of the man who took them.”

Fifty people were killed and dozens more were injured on Friday when a gunman opened fire at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder in connection to the event and is suspected to have carried out the attacks alone. The shooter broadcast a livestream of the murders and penned a racist manifesto that was distributed before the attack.

Ardern has been praised for her response to the attack

Arden has gained attention as a young, female, progressive world leader since she was elected in 2016. But Friday’s tragedy catapulted her into the global spotlight, and her leadership has won widespread praise both at home and abroad.

“Ardern’s performance has been extraordinary – and I believe she will be strongly lauded for it both domestically and internationally,” Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington Reuters.

Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian-American journalist and commentator for MSNBC and BBC, said Ardern has shown “strong leadership” in her weighted response. She cited Ardern’s decision to wear a hijab while consoling the victims of the shooting, calling it a “sign of respect”.

Ardern also won praise from Giffords Courage, the foundation started by former US Democratic Congressman Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2012 and now campaigns against gun violence.

London’s first Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan, also applauded Ardern for demonstrating the “importance of inclusivity and equality in society.”

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