New Zealanders came out in large numbers on Sunday to pay tribute to the 50 people who were killed when a gunman opened fire on two mosques in the city of Christchurch. Memorial services and vigils were held all across the country, with Prime Minister Jacinda Arden visiting a service held at the Kilbirnie Mosque in Wellington.
Wearing a black headscarf, Arden embraced family members of the victims and other mosque-goers and laid a wreath at the memorial. She also met with representatives of the Muslim community at the Canterbury Refugee Centre in Christchurch.
Dalia Mohamed, who was mourning her daughter’s father-in-law and is a volunteer at the Al Noor mosque, where 40 people were killed, told Reuters, “The prime minister, when she came wearing her scarf, that was big for us.” Arden also won appreciation on social media for her empathy and warmth while consoling mourners.
On Monday, Arden chaired a meeting after which she said her cabinet was “completely unified” in changing the gun laws in New Zealand, which is expected to include a ban on semi-automatic rifles.