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A regulator reflects on Mosque attacks

Following the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch the FSC toyed with cancelling its Navigating Regulation summit in the city. It chose to go ahead with the event and speaker, John Botica from the FMA provides a personal account of what happened.

Monday, March 25th 2019, 7:15AM 1 Comment

by John Botica

John Botica

On Tuesday night, while in Christchurch for the Navigating Regulation Summit with the Financial Services Council, I visited the Al-Noor mosque to pay my respects. The mosque was a 10 minute walk from our hotel.  It was 8pm and dusk was just turning into nightfall. There was quite a large crowd, old, young , families, journalists ... gathered around the hundreds of flowers, messages and candles placed on the edge of the cordon. The air was full of the scent of flowers and an overwhelming sense of quiet and peace. Not a sound. Even as some read out messages, hugged their children, hugged each other, some weeping, an eerie sense of calm and quiet was somehow overwhelming.

I wandered down around the cordon following the edge of the park over the Riccarton Stream heading towards the mosque. The little wooden bridge over the stream was full of candles that glowed in the night. Many people are simply standing in silent prayer and reflection. The cordon through the park runs down the length of Deans Ave and is about 50 metres back from the roadside. There's a heavy contingent of armed police present. As we stop to reflect, six men in the field behind are praying. All you can hear is the gentle chanting of their prayer. It's just such a beautiful setting, it's so hard to think about what happened four days earlier.

As we wander back through the park, I notice a boy aged about seven with his mum and dad. They're talking to a policeman over the ribbon of the cordon. The boy hands the policeman a piece of birthday cake, today's his birthday. It was very touching.

I shared this story before delivering our speech the next morning.  There were around 200 delegates.

Before the summit started, we asked Trisha Edmonds from ANZ to say a few words.  Trisha quoted the from the Quran: "Show forgiveness, enjoin kindness, Avoid ignorance". We stood for a minute's silence.

We weren't sure if we should go to Christchurch and if we should cancel the summit. Richard Klipin from the FSC summed it up:

- The Christchurch Financial Services community is gathering. Part of our strength is our combined community and humanity.

- It is often in times of great sadness, shock and tragedy that the act of coming together as a community becomes a powerful affirmation of much that is good.

I'm glad we went.

John Botica is the Director of Market Engagement at the Financial Markets Authority.

Tags: Opinion

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Comments from our readers

On 25 March 2019 at 5:50 pm Mr UCITS said:
Very well written John, thanks for sharing.

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