Muslim leaders 'value' engaging with commission

6:55 pm on 14 May 2019

Christchurch Muslim leaders say they are gratefully taking up the opportunity to be heard as part of a Royal Commission Inquiry into the mosque attacks.

Farid Ahmed (C), a survivor of the twin mosque massacre, offers prayers inside the Al Noor mosque,

Photo: AFP

The inquiry began yesterday, and commissioners Justice Sir William Young and former diplomat Jacqui Caine are expected to meet privately with members of the Muslim community tomorrow.

It's thought the majority of the inquiry could be taking place behind closed doors, prompting concerns from one Islamic group about fairness, and who will get a say.

But Al Noor mosque spokesperson Jamal Green said he was not concerned about the transparency.

"The fact that the commission is engaging with us is something that we very much value," he said.

"We've got to look at the scope, the terms of reference - but the fact that they are engaging is essential, so we're very, very pleased with that."

The commission is expected to report back to the Governor-General in early December.

Shagaf Khan and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel during the handover of a lei at the Al Noor Mosque

Shagaf Khan and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel. Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

Muslim Association of Canterbury president Shagaf Khan said he was not concerned about waiting for the outcomes, if the commission did opt to gather evidence in private.

"It's a big task. If they want to go very thoroughly into this, it will take time," he said.

He expected the first meeting with the commissioners to shed more light on the process going forward.

Meanwhile, police commissioner Mike Bush said investigators were "not aware" of any reports that could have prevented the Christchurch mosque attacks.

His comments follow media reports suggesting warning signs were missed in the lead-up to the attack.

Mr Bush said police must be careful about pre-empting matters to be considered by the Royal Commission.

He said there was an incorrect perception that police were aware of information that could have stopped the attacks.

Mr Bush said, based on the information available to date, police weren't aware of any information that could have prevented the mass shooting.

But he has asked the commission for permission to respond to the claims.

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