Can Jacinda Ardern overcome hatred?

Gestures of compassion and solidarity: many have been impressed by the reaction of New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch. Commentators see Ardern as a ray of hope but stress that the Arab world must also take steps against Islamophobia.

Open/close all quotes
Protagon.gr (GR) /

Compassion in a black hijab

Protagon is impressed by Ardern's show of empathy:

“New Zealand's compassionate prime minister highlights the lack of empathy our society suffers from. This absence of feeling can be seen as a symptom of a society that has had enough of suffering. Or of the prevalence of indifference and boredom. Jacinda Ardern has surprised our cynical macho planet. Dressed in a black hijab, she visited Christchurch one day after the attack in which 50 people were killed and 50 injured. In today's political world her heartfelt embrace of a young Muslim woman and her baby seemed almost strange. No doubt Donald Trump felt sick in his stomach when he saw that.”

T24 (TR) /

Hope for a better future

T24 hopes that Jacinda Ardern could be paving the way for a new, better form of politics:

“Thanks to Ardern's humanity all of society has been able to come to terms with its pain and sadness. From the live broadcast of Friday's prayer on state television to the symbolic donning of the headscarf by women at mourning ceremonies across the nation, everything was a model of collective grief and solidarity. Jacinda Ardern has given us all hope for another world. This hope is a torch that can show the way for those who seek to destroy the masculine, hate-filled, polarising language of politics.”

Al-Araby Al-Jadid (GB) /

Islamophobia is also a homemade problem

A number of Arab regimes are promoting racism and Islamophobia in non-Arab countries, Al-Araby Al-Jadid criticises:

“Egypt's President Sisi for example stirs up hatred against mosques in his speeches. He calls for them to be monitored and describes them as a potential danger. The rulers in the United Arab Emirates that always maintain good relations with anti-Islam conservative forces behave in a similar way. This is about far more than hostility towards political Islam. It's about hostility towards the Muslims living in the West. It's about Islamophobia in an Arab guise. ... The racism [in the West] can only be controlled if in the Arab world there are democracies that defend their citizens, preserve their dignity and protect their identity - and don't use cheap propaganda to agitate against them.”