In April 2019, Prince William made a visit to New Zealand at the request of its prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. The month before, the country had been hit with devastating terror attacks in which two mosques were targeted in Christchurch. At least 51 people were killed and 49 others injured in the attacks, which are still are the deadliest in the country's history.
This week, the Duke of Cambridge checked in with some of those he met during his visit by making a video call to imams and those who attend Al-Noor and Linwood mosques, the two masjids that were targeted in the violence, along with the Muslim Association of Canterbury. He wanted to see how everyone was doing, especially in light of the current coronavirus pandemic.
"I'm really proud of all of you, the whole community and the New Zealand government, for how you have all dealt with such an atrocity," he told them. "You are a role model for how something so tragic can be negotiated with the utmost grace and dignity."
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Reconnecting with members of the Christchurch Muslim community The Duke of Cambridge spoke to Imams and representatives from the Al-Noor and Linwood mosques about how their community is doing, 14 months on from the terrorist attacks in March 2019. The Duke visited New Zealand in April 2019 on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, to pay tribute to those affected by the Christchurch mosques terrorist attacks. Having met Imam Alani Lateef, Imam Gamal Fouda and Farid Ahmad last year in New Zealand, he was reunited virtually with them all on yesterday's call. Visit the Royal Family YouTube page to see more from their conversations.
Following the attacks, New Zealand banned most semi-automatic weapons. Jacinda has also led a global movement to stop violent and extremist content from being spread online with the Christchurch Call initiative. Forty-eight countries have signed an agreement connected to it, along with eight tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon.
Imam Alani Lateef, Imam Gamal Fouda and Farid Ahmad, three people who met William during his trip to the country last year, were all on the call. Farid's wife Husna was killed in the attacks.
The suspect in the shootings has since pleaded guilty, which those on the call told William has caused another wave of grief to open up in the community, especially among those who are "still in shock" from what happened.
"I stand here ready to help you," the duke told them.
William wanted to reiterate his support to the group, especially as the community continues to navigate COVID-19. New Zealand is currently in the process of phasing out its coronavirus lockdown. As of this writing, New Zealand had reported a total of 1,498 cases and 21 deaths attributed to COVID-19. On May 11, Jacinda said malls, restaurants, movie theatres and playgrounds could reopen. Some restrictions will remain in place in case things need to be tightened back up.
William's April 2019 visit to Christchurch was the second he has made to the city after a crisis. In May 2011, the Duke of Cambridge also travelled there following an earthquake which killed at least 166 people.