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'Forces of love will always prevail' - Prince William speaks at Al Noor mosque, scene of Christchurch terrorist attack


Prince William has commended New Zealand on its response to the Christchurch terrorist attack on March 15, and is driving the message that love will drive out hate.

"Forces of love will always prevail," he said in a speech to survivors of the Christchurch terrorist attack.

He met with about 160 survivors this morning, on his second day in the country.

Prince William spoke of the mosque as a place of worship, faith and friendship, a home for community and family, but said the alleged gunman tried to cause a division through his actions.

"No doubt that this is what the terrorist hoped for but New Zealand had other plans, the people of Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque had other plans.

"He thought he could redefine what this space was. I am here to help you show the world that he failed."

Prince William spoke of other terrorist attacks, including in Sri Lanka recently, the US and Europe, calling for the world to unite in the fight back against extremism. "Extremism in all its forms must be defeated."

He said he stood with New Zealand in gratitude for the handling of the attacks, in optimism about the future, in grief of those lost and in support for those who survived.

"I stand with you in firm belief that the forces of love will always prevail over the forces of hate," he said.

He commended New Zealand for it's response to the attacks - to people first on the scene and neighbours rushing to the aid of those injured, to first responders who treated victims, to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her leadership and empathy and to the rest of New Zealand for coming together, wearing headscarves in solidarity and dropping off flowers and messages of support.

"An act of violence was designed to change New Zealand, but instead the grief of a nation revealed just how deep your wells of empathy, compassion, warmth and love truly run. You started showing what New Zealand was almost immediately," he said.

"On a map New Zealand may look like an isolated land, but in the weeks that followed the 15th of March, the moral compass of the world was centred here in Christchurch. You showed the way we must respond to hate – with love.

"You showed that an attack designed to divide society against Muslims, only brought us all closer to our Muslim friends."

He too praised the Muslims affected by the attacks for showing the true community as peaceful and understanding.

"People of all faiths and backgrounds could learn a great deal from how the Muslim families affected by the 15th of March attacks rallied around their loved ones."

Waking up in London on March 15, Prince William said he couldn't believe the news of the "unspeakable hate" which had unfolded in New Zealand.

"What happened here was fuelled by a warped ideology that know no boundaries," he said.

But, he too had experienced sudden loss and grief. He shared his experience with those at Al Noor Mosque today. 

"You don't ever forget the sadness, shock and pain," he said. "Grief, if you let it, will reveal who you are. It can reveal depths that you did not know you had."

Before Prince William spoke, a survivor of the attacks gave an emotional speech, referencing those affected by the Christchurch and Sri Lanka attacks.

"We share your pains. The whole world is with you," he said of the people in Sri Lanka. "We believe that mankind is one large family therefore as human brothers and sisters we have to treat one-another with love, with respect, with dignity.

"Right now my heart is aching," the survivor said.

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John Wood says everyone was “ecstatic” to meet the prince, and now was the right time to have the visit. Source: 1 NEWS

Canterbury Heath Board chair Dr John Wood told 1 NEWS the survivors that were able to talk to Prince William were "ecstatic", and described him as "thoughtful".

Flowers, flags and messages still lined the gate of the mosque, six weeks on after 50 people were killed in Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Ave mosque.

Prince William met with emergency service personnel at the justice precinct yesterday afternoon and with paramedics at Christchurch hospital this morning.