As Salam alaikum and peace be upon you to everyone here.
“Hello brother”, were the last words that were uttered by the first victim of the New Zealand attack.
On Friday 22 March, in response to the attack, the BAME Ambassadors came together with the Islamic Society to organise a day of action in solidarity and remembrance of the victims of Christchurch and the subsequent attacks on Muslims. Together we organised for Jummah (Friday Prayers) to be outside in Student Central inviting all students and staff of all faiths and no faiths to pray or stand around those praying as a symbol of solidarity against hate, racism and Islamophobia. We also created a ribbon art installation with the New Zealand flag projecting onto it, where staff and students came and left messages of peace and solidarity for the Muslim community using parcel tags.
Truly to Allah do we belong and truly to him we shall return Ameen. The events that took place in Christchurch are heart-breaking and I wish no one to ever be fuelled with that kind of hatred but with every hardship we are given ease. We have seen beautiful acts of support from both Muslims and non-Muslims globally that truly show the good that exists in this world.
The 32nd verse in chapter five of the Quran teaches, that if someone is to kill one person it is like he has killed the whole of humanity and if someone is to save one person it is like he has saved the whole of humanity. This verse teaches us that each and every one of our lives is valuable, they are all created by the most perfect creator and if you do not believe in God, then I ask you to consider humans as a beautiful creation. Our lives benefit those of others every day and removing just one can massively impact our society.
Chimamanda Adichie has an amazing Ted Talk addressing stereotypes, that explains how the single story that we place upon one another is problematic. These victims had an incomplete stereotype placed upon them. Yes, the victims are Muslims and you might not agree with their beliefs, but a lot of them were also pillars of their communities who served both Muslims and non-Muslims, surely we all believe in helping one another?
Hajji Daoud Nabi 71 - A humanitarian and a belief community leader who touched the hearts of many. He greeted the attacker with hello brother. He left behind 9 grandchildren.
Linda Armstrong 64 – A community leader and humanitarian, who reverted to Islam 14 years ago. She unselfishly helped her community and was an advocate for women’s rights.
Naeem Rashid 50 - An intelligent ambitious and devout father of three. He moved to New Zealand to gain new opportunities and was beginning his PHD. According to witnesses he tackled the gunman and died a martyr.
Husna Ava Parkin 47 – A hero and selfless women who led a number of women and children to safety, she was killed when she returned to the mosque to check on her husband who is a wheelchair user. She put others before herself.
Mucad Ibrahim 3 – He was full of energy love and happiness, he represented God’s love peace and mercy. He never even got the chance to start school! He was the youngest to be killed in the attack.
51 families are left with an empty chair at their table, an empty space in their lives. Each and every one of these victims had a beautiful life story which is left behind. I ask you all to pray for each and every one of these martyrs and their families.
As Muslims, we believe that each of their deaths is blessed as they were in a state of wudu and in the attendance of Jummah prayers. May Allah swt grant them the highest ranks and allow their deaths to influence a more loving and peaceful society Ameen. As humans we often forget to show gratitude for the blessings we are handed every day, I ask that you all go home spend time with your families and friends appreciate them, laugh with them and love them. We don’t know when we will leave this world and whilst we hope to be granted paradise, we don’t know the next time we will hug our mothers or laugh with our siblings. On this day in New Zealand, the world was divided and so it fell, but as soon as we began to unite and support one another we stood! United we stand divided we fall!
There’s a post circulating on the internet showing an elderly gentleman stood outside a mosque with a sign that reads “You are my friends I will keep watch whilst you pray”. Every time I see this it brings me tears of joy because it reminds me of how beautiful our souls really can be. Thank you Andrew Graystone.
To finish, I would like to share a quote from our beloved prophet Pbuh with you all:
“You will not enter Paradise until you have faith and you will not have faith until you love one another. May I direct you to a way by which you will love one another. Spread peace between yourselves."