The way New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has handled the aftermath of the tragic murders of 50 Muslim people in her country has motivated more than 20,000 people to sign petitions advocating she receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Ardern from the start expressed a message of empathy, of inclusivity, and of respect for the Muslim community, including in her contact with President Trump. Prime Minister Ardern and President Trump spoke by telephone after the attacks. Ardern indicated, according to CNN, that Trump “asked what offer of support the United States could provide. My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.” Trump thus far, however, has avoided acknowledging the white supremacist, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant nature of the attacks.
Ardern also backed up her words with action on gun control. Less than a week after the attack, New Zealand had outlawed military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. Contrast that with our country, where after mass shootings, such as the 2017 Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead and the 2018 Parkland school shooting that left 17 dead, people rise up insisting on common sense gun control legislation, but that legislation ends up not happening for multiple reasons, include the influence of the NRA over Republican congresspeople. And so it is both Ardern’s message and her taking action to prevent such acts of violence in the future that have people thinking she would make a good choice to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. According to The Hill:
More than 20,000 people have signed petitions calling for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her response to a pair of mosque shootings that killed 50 people. A change.org petition to the United Nations had gained more than 20,000 signatures as of Sunday morning. A French petition calling for the prime minister to win the prestigious annual award had nearly 3,000 signatures…The statement (in the change.org petition) goes on to praise Ardern for her advocacy on gun control legislation, adding that her “strong leadership after the shootings in Christchurch… could teach a thing or two to other world leaders who at times have come short when tragedy strikes.”…Ardern has been praised for how she has responded to the attacks, such as her call to never mention the shooter’s name. “He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name,” she said.
An image of Ardern, along with a message of peace, was also projected onto Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. On Friday Dubai’s prime minister Sheikh Mohammed posted a picture of the projection on Twitter, writing, “New Zealand today fell silent in honour of the mosque attacks’ martyrs. Thank you PM @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world.”
New Zealand today fell silent in honour of the mosque attacks' martyrs. Thank you PM @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world. pic.twitter.com/9LDvH0ybhD
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) March 22, 2019
While Ardern has been praised for her leadership, her empathy, and her taking action on gun control, she has given credit instead to the people of New Zealand, saying, according to The Hill, “I believe what I have done has not been about leadership. All I have done is simply echoed the humanity of New Zealanders.”