Whitelock wants focus on Muslim community now instead of Crusaders name change

11 October 2018. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson have launched a new strategy that champions equaility for NZ women and girls in sport and active recreation

11 October 2018. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson have launched a new strategy that champions equaility for NZ women and girls in sport and active recreation

"I think at the moment, this is much bigger than rugby", Whitelock said in a video issued by the Crusaders.

A senior New Zealand politician has welcomed discussions to change the name of the Super Rugby champions.

Original Crusaders chairman Donald Stewart revealed to stuff.co.nz that he had reservations about the name when the Super 12 was launched in 1996.

A devout Muslim, Williams has been vocal in his support for the city of Christchurch and expressed his sadness at the attacks, which left 50 people dead and many more injured.

A reference to the medieval Crusades from Christians against Muslims between 1095 and 1492, the name "Crusaders" could be taken as highly offensive and inappropriate to a community reeling from such a devastating attack, it has been suggested.

On Monday the Crusaders issued a statement saying the franchise understands the concerns that have been raised but believes now is not the time to discuss the matter. "We are just trying to make sure we take the appropriate time and make sure we are very respectful and those decisions will happen in time, but at the moment we are trying to give everyone space where they need it and those things will happen in the future when it is most appropriate".

"At an appropriate time, we will thoroughly consider the issues that have been raised and our response to that". That will include conversations with a range of people, including our Muslim community.

"This team and the wider organization are united with our community in standing against such abhorrent acts as that which occurred on Friday in Christchurch, and in standing in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters".

The Crusaders' game against the Highlanders scheduled for Saturday was canceled.

"Just sending my duas (supplication) to the families". "Inshallah you guys are all in paradise". While round six had always been targetted for the themed round, the outpouring of emotion from all around New Zealand after the tragic events in Christchurch was a further reminder of the importance of looking after each other.

Mourners in Christchurch paid tributes to victims of the attacks by performing renditions of the haka - the Maori war dance performed by the All Blacks before each game but also used to pay respects at funerals.

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