FIANZ Review Of The First Phase Of March 15 – Coronial Inquiry – Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand


FIANZ, the national umbrella Muslim organisation, is looking forward to the first phase findings related to the March 15 tragedy. The first phase focused principally on what happened on that fateful day and the role of first responders, such as the NZ Police, Fire and Emergency NZ and St John.

In this respect , we would like to congratulate the Deputy Chief Coroner Brigitte Windley for the exemplary coronial inquest thus far. What has been particularly impressive is the transparency in the robust proceedings as well as the religio-cultural empathy at a time when many families were finding out the circumstances of the death of their loved ones, said Abdur Razzaq, from FIANZ .

This is not only the largest and most complex inquest in New Zealand’s history, but also one which has both national and international prominent media coverage. Navigating the religious nuances, complying with the legal processes, respecting the wishes of all the 51 families and focussing on the 10 issues of the First Phase have needed a level of understanding and patience for which we consider Judge Windley and her team should be commended, said FIANZ spokesperson.

Whilst there have been some logistical and related issues, such as the limited funds for overseas families of the shuhada to attend and the issue of naming the terrorist, the First Phase of the inquest has been most productive in finding out the specifics of what happened. In this context, FIANZ would like to stress that the approach has not been to blame anyone, since it was plainly obvious that everyone tried their utmost on the day, but to ensure that lessons are learned for the future, said Abdur Razzaq.

This Inquest along with the previous Royal Commission have given a baseline of vital information and many key systemic and functional improvements that need to be made. This terror tragedy could have happened to any other vulnerable community and as such, FIANZ would like to stress the importance to the new government to ensure priority funding is made available to our first responder agencies.

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FIANZ looks forward to the Phase 2 of the Inquest with key issues such as gun licensing and the role of social media extremism and other related matters. With respect to the gun licensing issue, we respectfully request that this not be turned into a political issue, but remain focussed on a people-safety issue. This safety covers all New Zealanders, including those who use firearms for sporting, environmental and recreational purpose.