The Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand welcomes the decision of the Chief Coroner to open an inquiry into the terrorist attacks on Christchurch mosques. There are several outstanding matters relating to what lead up to, and immediately followed, the terrorist’s actions and it is in the public interest to resolve them.
We believe the coronial inquiry is a positive step in the path towards prevention of any further violence caused by individuals who hold radicalised views. In our submission, filed two weeks prior to the LynnMall stabbings, IWCNZ asked the Chief Coroner to look into the path to radicalisation of the terrorist. This includes a request to delve into the influences as he was growing up as well as the impacts of his online activity. Such harm from online platforms appears to have played a role in the LynnMall attacker’s background as well.
The coronial process offers the chance of transparency, and a full airing of what other actors in addition to the government and the terrorist, knew or should have known. IWCNZ notes that all evidence given to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch mosques attack has been sealed permanently, other than evidence of Ministers and senior public servants, which has been sealed for 30 years. Further, given that no trial took place due to a guilty plea, and the Royal Commission held no public hearings; there has, thus far, been only limited evidence in the public domain.
The Chief Coroner has the power to make recommendations after a full review of the evidence. This independent process provides an opportunity for positive change that can protect New Zealanders from future harm and keep this nation safe.