A suspected white supremacist perpetrated a shooting at two mosques as people gathered for Friday prayers in Christchurch on the 19th of March 2019. NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has since vowed that the attacker will remain nameless as she opened a solemn session of parliament with a powerful As Salaam Alaikum message of peace to Kiwi Muslims.
The Crusaders Rugby team adopted their name more than 20 years ago when the game went professional, but questions have now been raised over its association with religious wars between Muslims and Christians from 1095 – 1492. Although the team initially stated that they didn’t feel their name had religious connotations anymore, reflecting their crusading spirit rather, Chief Executive for the Crusaders Colin Mansbridge has since expressed that they’re open to changing it.
Grant Robertson, Minister of Sports, has stated that he feels that this is a relevant discussion, and called this kind of conversation the responsible thing to do. He did not reveal his own opinion on the matter, saying that he would only do so after the team finishes consulting with the local Christchurch community and he has had the chance to speak to officials. Sports journalist Tony Smith noted that the socio-political landscape in New Zealand has changed forever in the wake of the attacks, and the Muslim community’s views need to be taken into serious consideration going forward. After all, the Crusaders belong to everyone in the city, Muslims included.
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