Assalaam alaikum and tēnā koutou
The Government made the decision to establish this Royal Commission to investigate the terrorist attack at the Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019 – what had happened, and why, and what should be done to reduce the risk of future attacks.
At the heart of our inquiry were the whānau of the 51 shuhada of the 15 March 2019 terrorist attack and the survivors and witnesses and their whānau. Connecting with Muslim communities was an expectation in our Terms of Reference and also the right thing to do.
We established a Muslim Community Reference Group to provide advice to us, and ensure that we had access to a diverse range of opinions from Muslim communities and that people within those communities had access to us. Membership was diverse with women and men, youth, adults and elders and different religious perspectives. Around a third of the members live in Christchurch, with the remaining members coming from across Aotearoa New Zealand. We held nine hui over the course of the inquiry with our Muslim Community Reference Group. We also attended hui with Muslim communities that had been arranged by members of the reference group. Each engagement was well attended and vigorous and confidential discussions ensued.
We give special thanks to the members of our Muslim Community Reference Group for their commitment in attending each hui, actively listening, asking hard questions, robustly discussing and developing effective working relationships with each other, and with us and our secretariat. Their opinions and ideas were gratefully received and were invaluable to developing our thinking.
This publication brings together the insights we have collated from members and also from our review of the processes we developed regarding the Muslim Community Reference Group. We made a few mis-steps, which we do not shy away from, but we learned fast and adapted along the way. We offer these insights so that organisations that may interact with Muslim communities can learn from what went right and what could have been better.
Hon Sir William Young KNZM