The Prince of Jordan is full of praise for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her handling of the Christchurch terrorist attack.

Prince El Hassan Bin Talal, who is in New Zealand with a delegation to support the families of the Jordanian victims, met with Ardern last night.

"I was deeply impressed by her in the flesh, so to speak, to meet her having heard her statements of the last several days and seeing how she went personally to embrace the families of the bereaved and to express her views condemning hatred and hate-speak.

Prince El Hassan Bin Talal, Crown Prince of Jordan.
Prince El Hassan Bin Talal, Crown Prince of Jordan.

"To observe a [two] minute silence, to listen to the call to prayer, this must be very galling for the hate-peddlers. You can only contain or confront hate with compassion and love."


His delegation is here to support the Jordan citizens caught up in the terror attack. Four Jordan nationals were killed and many were injured, including a four-year-old who has been in a critical condition in Starship Hospital.

The gunman had believed he was some kind of hero, but Prince El Hassan said the gunman was wrong.

"This whole idea of saying 'I am a saviour from these people' is gross, it's arrogant and it reeks of sociopathy.

"This polarity of hatred cannot continue, otherwise, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, 'If it was an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, we'd all be blind and toothless.'"

Prince El Hassan also issued a soft rebuke to Turkish President Recep Erdoğan, who has faced criticism for using the gunman's video at an election rally in Turkey, and for saying to New Zealanders and Westerners in a speech: "Your grandparents came, some of them returned in coffins. If you come as well like your grandfathers, be sure that you will be gone like your grandfathers".

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the comments "highly offensive and highly reckless" comments.

Ardern has taken a softer line, saying the comments would not affect the traditional pilgrimage of New Zealanders attending Gallipoli commemorations, and that Foreign Minister Winston Peters would deal with the issue during his current visit to Turkey.

Asked about Erdogan's comments, Prince El Hassan said we should learn the lessons of World War I, instead of using it as a reason to antagonise.


"As far as Gallipoli and World War I is concerned, we in Jordan commemorate all of the fallen, the Anzacs and the Turks."

Turkey is hosting a special meeting of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation and has invited Peters, who said it was an opportunity for New Zealand to join others in a stand against terrorism and in support of religious tolerance.

Prince El Hassan said he hoped the meeting's participants would be open to what Peters had to say, instead of arriving with a prior agenda.

He said Arabs and Muslims had been "beaten down" in the last decades of war in the Middle East, and do not feel like they have a voice in international forums such as the United Nations.

"Unless they feel they have some rights in this world, I think we are hot-housing the kind of extremism we claim to fear, because we are basically saying, 'Well, go and be extremists.'

"The time has come to recognise this simply cannot work. It is not a policy of stabilising the planet ... We don't have another planet."

The misperception that all Muslims are extremists had affected him directly, he said, citing a time when a woman was surprised to hear that he was an Arab Muslim because he didn't come across as radicalised.

He said part of the answer was respect, and challenging the mistaken belief that one culture is superior to another.

"This selective reasoning is basically to boost your own vanity. To say, 'I'm civilised and the rest of the world is not.'

"If we can at least share this feeling of empathy for a common humanity, then I think we are beginning to take a first step towards sharing our responsibilities."

This has been a challenge that the modern world has always faced, but he said it was one we must face because you cannot "stop the world" and get off.

"There's nowhere else to go. I am a grandfather of nine lovely grandchildren. It's about them. We're not important. It's the next generation. It's about them."