New Zealand is a country built on principles of an open and free society, where people are free to believe and worship as they please. The New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists stand fast to this principle as it is the cornerstone of an enlightened society.

The atrocity committed against innocent Muslims today was not only an attack on a vulnerable minority, it was an attack on the very foundations of the value system we hold dear. It has been evident from the reactions of New Zealanders from every walk of life, from the Prime Minister to everyday New Zealanders that we condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms, and that our foundations of compassion and community are strong.

No words I can offer can possibly come close to assuaging the sorrow that the families of the victims will be feeling in this moment. What we can do is make clear that we will stand with them, that we will do everything in our power to ensure this never happens again on New Zealand soil.

At the end of the day we are all New Zealanders. We stand beside each other and support each other, no matter what our differences. As I write this many of our members are putting their hands up to support the victims and show that compassion is stronger than hate.

Peter Harrison
New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists