Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand was unique in so many ways even before the Christchurch mosque incident in which 50 people lost their lives.
The 38-year-old is one of the youngest prime ministers in the world, and just one of the two world leaders who has given birth while being head of state. She found out that she was pregnant just a month after she was elected as Prime Minister in 2017, and she ran a “relentlessly optimistic” campaign.
Her rise to popularity and power was even dubbed “Jacindamania”, and people in her country (and all around the world) fell in love with her. Even as she’s challenged political norms, she has solidity held her own in that space. I mean, have you seen another world leader bringing their 3-month-old baby to the U.N General Assembly?
Her response to the mosque incident, however, made people all around the world praise her clear, strong, and compassionate leadership.
You want to know how she first reacted to her Muslim countrymen losing their lives? By putting on a hijab and acknowledging the needs of the victims’ loved ones.
Jacinda Ardern is not a Muslim, and she is not religious. However, in solidarity with the Muslim community, she put on a hijab and her first words were “As-Salaam-Alaikum” – an Arabic phrase which means “Peace be upon you”.
She told them that the first immediate concern of the government was to make sure that the religious considerations for the burial of the people that lost their lives were respected and followed to the best of their ability, and the second concern was for the safety of the Muslim community.
She delivered notable empathy, and she told them:
“You are us. We feel grief, we feel injustice, we feel anger, and we share that with you”.
— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) March 18, 2019
She also offered financial assistance to the families to help with their expenses, and she vowed to take swift action on the laws about control in the country in order to limit the ability for such incidents to occur.
The New Zealand government moved towards tightening the laws, and it includes a proposal to ban all military-style arms immediately after the incident took place.
Jacinda Ardern said that the clear lesson from history around the world is that the time to act in order to make their community safer is now!