The Christchurch-based Super Rugby club, “the Crusaders”, has made the first change in its re-brand after calls for the franchise to change its name following the mosque shootings, Otago Daily Times reported.
“Even prior to 15 March, the Crusaders had signaled their intention to complete a brand review,” NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew said.
“While the events of 15 March have accelerated and escalated that brand review, we do not want this to be solely a response to that tragic event.”
Tew was commenting on the Crusaders decision to remove the swords from their logo online.
Terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 50 Muslim worshippers in March 15 attacks as he targeted Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
After the attacks, the club said they were hiring an independent company to research a new name and imagery from next season.
The current name, the Crusaders, hints to a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period against the Muslim world.
The team’s badge, which would come into effect by the 2021 season, featured a sword-wielding knight with a cross on his chest in the style of a medieval Crusader.
Though the new decision divided fans, it received plenty of social media support for the new logo.
In the rugby world, many teams and players also expressed solidarity and support.
Four Manly Sea Eagles players paid an emotional visit on March 28 to one of the mosques which were the scene of a terrorist shooting in Christchurch.
Earlier in March, the All Blacks rugby player Ofa Tu’ungafasi accepted Islam following a visit with his Muslim teammate Sonny Bill Williams over the weekend to the survivors of Christchurch mosque terrorist attack.
Islam in New Zealand is adhered by about 1% of the total population. Small numbers of Muslim immigrants from South Asia and Eastern Europe settled in New Zealand from the early 1900s until the 1960s.
Large-scale Muslim immigration began in the 1970s with the arrival of Fiji Indians, followed in the 1990s by refugees from various war-torn countries. The first Islamic center opened in 1959 and there are now several mosques and two Islamic schools.
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