New Zealand on Wednesday marked the fourth anniversary of the deadly terrorist attack on a mosque and an Islamic center in 2019.
Andrew Little, the government's lead coordination minister for the response to the Royal Commission's Report on the Terrorist Attack on the Christchurch Mosques in 2019, said the victims of the deadly terror attack are always in their thoughts.
“The Government is committed to reducing the threat of terrorism and violent extremism to New Zealanders,” Little said in a statement.
He added that he is traveling to Australia for the fourth Sub-Regional Meeting on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Security on this anniversary day, which will be attended by Australia, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
On March 15, 2019, Brenton Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, killed 51 people and injured 40 more at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch city.
He was sentenced to life in prison in 2020 without the possibility of parole, in the first such ruling ever handed down in the island country.
However, Tarrant filed an appeal against his life sentence in court last year. The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) described his move as an attempt to re-traumatize the victims and the nation.
The latest statement issued by the association on Wednesday, while commemorating the fourth anniversary of the attack, stated that the entire nation remembers the "shahada" or martyrs.
"This is a time when the whole nation remembers the families of the shahada and the survivors of the terror attack,” said President FIANZ Ibrar Sheikh in a statement posted on the organization’s website.
In the same statement, FIANZ Chairperson Abdur Razzaq stated: "On this fourth year since the tragedy we are also mindful of the Royal Commission Recommendations and the need to ensure the long-term social cohesion and national security of our country.”