The New Zealand Ministry of Justice has approached the Interfaith networks of New Zealand seeking victim impact statements for the March 15 attacks at the two mosques in Christchurch. The MoJ has decided to expand the scope of the ‘Victims’ to not only include the Muslim community who were most directly affected, but also all faith communities in Christchurch as well as New Zealand as they acknowledge that all faith groups have been made victims in one way or another through these events. The Canterbury Interfaith Society will act to draw related statements together on behalf of faith communities.
I am emailing you today in regards to a request at very short notice from the Ministry of Justice in regards to the sentencing of the Christchurch
terrorist which is to take place next month.
Raziuddin (our secretary) and myself met with two representatives from the MoJ this afternoon and they have asked us if we are willing to help collate a victim impact statement from faith communities in Christchurch as well as from national interfaith bodies if it is possible, however as seems to be the case with many government requests, the timeframe is extremely tight and our response is needed by this Friday.
The legal reasons are complex, however in summary this is the first time that anyone has been charged under the terrorist act in New Zealand – there is no precedent as to the scope of the charges as there is no case law to fall back on. The MoJ has decided to expand the scope of the ‘Victims’ to not only include the Muslim community who were most directly affected, but also all faith communities in Christchurch as well as New Zealand as they acknowledge that all faith groups have been made victims in one way or another through these events.
I have spoken briefly with Todd Nachowitz in regards to this and he suggested I email this nifanz email group putting forward the following suggestion.
Our suggestion is that firstly the Canterbury Interfaith Society pulls together a brief victim impact statement through consultation with our members.
We would like to give all groups in New Zealand an opportunity to either endorse our victim statement made up from consultation with faith groups in Canterbury, or if people have the time to also pull something together then we could include a paragraph or two from various groups around the country also.
We will do our best to have our victim statement ready by Thursday morning and then give other groups around NZ an opportunity to read and endorse if they wish. If your group wishes to also add to the victim statement, then please contact us ASAP and let us know – but we will need it by Thursday afternoon at the latest so that we have time to collate it in time for Friday.
Fortunately the MoJ has told us not to worry too much about formatting etc, and just to collate the statements that we get and then to send it through to them.
Apologies for the tight timeframe – the meeting with the MoJ was at 1:30 this afternoon so I have drafted this email as quickly as possible.
Chair – Canterbury Interfaith Society