Scott Brown, the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and former Massachusetts senator, said the deadly mosque shootings in his adopted home are an attack on “all of us.”
“Contrary to the peaceful teachings of Islam, the perpetrators of these attacks preach hate and they seek to divide us,” Brown said. “We must ensure they fail.”
The attack killed at least 49 people in two mosques in the city of Christchurch. Local police have arrested a 28-year-old Australian white nationalist — and two other armed suspects have been taken into custody —for what is New Zealand’s deadliest mass shooting in modern history.
Brown, who was confirmed as ambassador to the country in 2017, condemned the attack in the “strongest possible terms.” The 59-year-old Bay State native also praised how local citizens responded in wake of the tragedy and said the United States “stands with New Zealand.”
“To our Kiwi friends, Gail and I grieve with you and share your sadness,” he said.
Read Brown’s full statement below:
The horror of the senseless terrorist attacks perpetrated in Christchurch cannot be overstated. The innocent victims (may peace be upon them), who were doing nothing more than exercising their freedom to worship, will never be forgotten.
The murderers who assaulted these houses of faith in Christchurch attacked all of us – our sense of decency, our values, and our humanity. We condemn this unfounded violence and hatred in the strongest possible terms.
This morning uppermost in our thoughts are our Muslim brothers and sisters, their whanau and friends, and all those affected by these shocking events. Contrary to the peaceful teachings of Islam, the perpetrators of these attacks preach hate and they seek to divide us. We must ensure they fail.
In the wake of this tragedy we saw tremendous heroism and bravery by police, emergency services, and other first responders – and everyday citizens helping each other when the unthinkable occurred. As I’ve come to know well, Kiwis always try to help. That speaks to the place New Zealand is- you are an inspiration to the world.
Aotearoa is a welcoming inclusive place. It is peaceful and tolerant and celebrates diversity.
We feel at home in New Zealand because of you and your fellow citizens’ warmth, and so we feel this attack deeply and personally.
On behalf of the people and government of the United States, I offer my heartfelt and deepest condolences for the losses you have suffered. Today, as always, the United States, stands with New Zealand.
To our Kiwi friends, Gail and I grieve with you and share your sadness.
We, and millions of others, share your pain, outrage, and loss.
We hold you in our hearts, and send you all of our love, our aroha.