President Niinistö leads Finland’s condolences for New Zealand terror attack

Finlandia Hall in Helsinki will be lit up tonight dark blue, to remember the victims of the attack.

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File picture of Christchurch, New Zealand / Credit: iStock

Finnish President Sauli Niinstö has lead the nation’s condolences after a terror attack in New Zealand left 49 people confirmed dead and twenty others wounded.

“President Niinistö has extended his deepest condolences to [Governor General of New Zealand] Dame Patsy Reddy, to the families of the victims and to all those touched by the tragic terrorist act in Christchurch.”

One man has been charged with murder, and several other people arrested, after the shooting rampage at two mosques in the city of Christchurch. The gunman, who identified himself as an Australian in a lives broadcast of the attack on social media, published a document outlining his far right and anti-immigrant ideology.

In a statement, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has also strongly condemned the mass shootings at two mosques, saying “this senseless act of terrorism has been a shock to us all. I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims”.

“This incident was an attack against our common values. We will always strictly condemn such violence and terror” says Sipilä.

Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) says that Finlandia Hall will be illuminated in dark blue lights on Friday evening to remember the victims of the attack.

Foreign Ministry’s ‘imprecise’ condolence message

Meanwhile the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was forced to apologise for the wording of its condolences message.

Originally, the Ulkoministeriö twitter account said: “terrible attack against New Zealand and immigrants in Christchurch”.

However a number of social media users asked why they had used the word “immigrant” instead of “Muslim”.

Later, the Foreign Ministry conceded that the wording of their original tweet was “rightly” questioned and said “by New Zealand we meant all New Zealanders, including the Muslim community. Immigrants were mentioned following the first official statements about the victims in Christchurch. We apologise for our imprecise phrasing”.