A broadcaster in Australia delivered an emotional response to the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday.
“You’ll have to forgive me, these won’t be my best words,” said Waleed Aly, a host on Network Ten’s “The Project.”
Aly, who is Muslim, said he was initially reluctant to speak on TV about the shootings, in which an alleged white supremacist killed at least 49 people.
He said he felt “gutted,” “scared” and “overcome with utter hopelessness.”
“The most dishonest thing would be to say that I’m shocked,” he added. “I’m simply not. There’s nothing about what happened in Christchurch today that shocks me.”
Watch his full remarks here:
He said he had gone to a mosque that day, as he does every Friday, and knew “exactly what those moments before the shooting began would have been like.”
“I know how quiet, how still, how introspective those people would have been before they were suddenly gunned down, how separated from the world they were feeling until the world came in and tore their lives apart,” he said. “And I know that the people who did this knew well enough how profoundly defenseless their victims were in that moment.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has condemned the shootings, saying they constitute a “terrorist attack.” Aly referred to them as “slaughter by appointment” because they occurred during the weekly prayer.
Aly concluded with a request for the political leaders and high-profile figures who have condemned the shootings as terrorism:
“Don’t change your tune now because the terrorism seems to be coming from a white supremacist. If you’ve been talking about being tough on terrorism for years, and the communities who allegedly support it, show us how tough you are now.”
“We are one community,” he added. “Everything we say to try to tear people apart, demonize particular groups, set them against each other, that all has consequences, even if we’re not the ones with our fingers on the trigger.”