All news articles

All our news articles

Delivering news

What's being said

Delivery of policy

Golriz Ghahraman speech in response to the Christchurch mosque terror attacks

A-salaam-alaikum Mr Speaker,

Our nation's heart is broken. My heart is broken today.

Five days on, as the wound is still fresh, we have comfort in all the love. All over our country. I have seen the outpouring of grief. I’ve stood with communities as we wrapped our arms around one another. We gathered at mosques, we held each other at vigils, we held our little ones a little tighter as we remembered that little Mucad Ibrahim at 3 years old was one of the victims on Friday.

The city of Dunedin ran out of flowers on Saturday. They were all at the mosque.

That is the New Zealand which welcomed me and my family when we fled oppression, the risk of torture, after we had lived through war. I will never forget that love as a nine year old girl coming down that escalator in Auckland airport with my frightened parents.

And I want to thank every single New Zealander who held true to our values, of love and inclusion this week. We are on the right side of history. It matters to our frightened communities.

I will never forget that a Syrian refugee family were among the victims of this terror attack. Like  my family they escaped the unthinkable and found freedom here. They came here to be safe, they died in Christchurch, NZ.

We owe those victims the truth. This was terrorism.

It was committed by white supremacists.

Planned at length without police interference. Because white supremacy was not seen as a pressing threat, though the Muslim victims had been.

Although the man who committed the terror happened not to be born here the ideology that lead to this atrocity existed here…ethnic communities, refugees, tangata whenua have been telling us it exists for years.

I know it as my daily truth, as a politician perceived to be Muslim, known to be a refugee, I’ve spoken about the barrage of hate I receive online, of gun violence, death threats, rape, calls for shotguns to be loaded. Every minority in NZ knows this truth. We have to pause, and listen. We can’t pretend this was an aberration from overseas. That would be irresponsible.

The truth is that this happened here. And it began with hate speech, allowed to spread here online. History has taught us that hate speech is a slippery slope to atrocity.  

We now know that New Zealand needs to address this.

The truth is that we, as politicians- and I mean on all sides of this House, are also responsible.

There sit among us those who have for years fanned the flames of division in here and out there. Blamed migrants for our housing crisis. There sit among us here who deliberately spread hysteria about the UN Migration Compact.  We know that those words were written on his gun.  

We’ve pandered to the gratuitous racism by shock jocks on breakfast shows to raise our own profile.

No one here is directly responsible for what happened in Christchurch. We are all horrified. But we are now all on notice. We must change the way we do politics here.

Our most vulnerable communities are hurt. We are scared. White Supremacists want us dead.

The people at those incredible vigils are watching. They will hold us to account. Their acts of love, their resolve, is the standard we have to hold ourselves to from now on.

The world is watching. We have to get this right. We have to demonstrate to the rest of the world that love, peace, and compassion is a far stronger force than the forces of hate and division. We must be brave as we have the hard conversations we need to have as a country. We must shine the light into the shadows of racism and hatred that exist in pockets of our society. We must weave the incredible outpouring of love for our muslim and migrant communities that we have seen over the last few days into the enduring fabric of our society.

We have to do this for all the families who have had the lives of loved ones taken from them. We have to do this for little Muscad Ibrahim.

Kia hora te marino

Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana

Aroha atu, aroha mai

Tātou ia tātou katoa