TONIGHT: Ardern On Discovering The Christchurch Shooter Was Australian
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it took some time to process the fact that the Christchurch shooter was an Australian.
Speaking exclusively to The Project's Waleed Aly, Ardern said it wasn't about applying blame to Australia.
UPDATE: For the full interview, click here.
"That was news that did take some time for me to process," she said, "but New Zealanders are reflecting on the fact that it was not one of us, because in part that helps them process what happened here".
Aly sat down with Ardern after his powerful response to the terror attack -- both as an Australian journalist, and as a Muslim -- was seen around the world.
"Do you think this is a genuine turning point?" he asked Ardern, adding that it was "an unusual attack" because it took "a community that's been framed as perpetrators and turns them into victims."
"We have to acknowledge that this kind of targeting has happened before," Ardern replied.
"And so that is why our language is very deliberate. This is a terrorist attack."
Aly's emotional response to the shooting, delivered just hours after the shooter walked into two mosques during Friday afternoon prayer and murdered 50 people, struck a chord with people around the world.
"Of all the things I could say tonight -- that I'm gutted, and I'm scared, and I feel overcome with utter hopelessness -- the most dishonest thing would be to say that I'm shocked," Aly said, his voice cracking.
"I'm simply not. There's nothing about what happened today in Christchurch that shocks me."
Aly called out not just Fraser Anning, but the political parties that have allowed -- and at times, encouraged -- Islamophobia to fester within their ranks.
"A senior figure in our government once suggested we made a mistake by letting in Lebanese Muslims in the 70s," he said.
"And I know there are media reports going back eight years of a Shadow cabinet meeting in which another senior politician suggested his party should use community concerns about Muslims in Australia failing to integrate as a political strategy.
"That person is now the most senior politician we have."
Scott Morrison -- whose office threatened to sue Aly over the statement -- later denied his party had a problem with Islam, in an exclusive 30-minute live interview.
"No, I don't believe the Liberal party does [have a problem with Islam]... I can't speak for the National party," Morrison said.
"Our party is made up of a lot of individuals and in our party, individuals have a lot more freedom to say what they thin than a lot of other parties. And it is not for the party to answer for every single member on every single occasion."
Aly's interview with Jacinda Ardern will air on The Project at 6.30pm on Monday night.
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