A reflection on the Christchurch shooting massacre

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh which means May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you.

Hello everyone. It feels good to start writing this piece with an Islamic greeting which I haven’t done for so long since I left Malaysia. I am writing this piece to provide some comfort and solace for myself and also for others who are grieving with me. I also write this piece to express my grief and emotions over the tragedy that happened last Friday (15/3/2019). It was an act of the ‘devil’ says Andy, the Eritriea gentleman who works as a cleaner at the University. I completely agree with him because it feels easier for me to think of it that way than keep thinking about how a human being can commit such atrocities towards innocent people. As a Muslim woman living in New Zealand, I am no stranger to racist slurs, comments, gestures and looks which I have encountered over the last four years, even at the University. Therefore, I am not totally surprised at what had happened on Friday although I am deeply saddened and shocked at the fact that my brothers and sisters were attacked and gunned down while they were praying. And at the time where they were most vulnerable and defenceless. In case some of you were wondering, we address others in the Islamic faith as brothers and sisters because it gives us a sense of unity and a sense of belonging. We feel for each other and we look out for each other. That’s why we are deeply impacted with this tragedy.

Unlike in other countries, Muslims in New Zealand do not hold any rallies or ask for any privilege or rights as Muslims. We are a small peaceful loving community who are trying to live and get on with our lives. We understand that we are the minority and we do not have any intention to Islamise the nation but we welcome any individual who wants to learn about our faith. The masjid (mosque) is our sanctuary and we seek comfort and solace at our place of worship. As Muslims, we can go anywhere in the world and we will always drop by the local Masjid for prayers or if we are in need of any help. My sons used to perform jummah (congregational) prayers at the Kilbirnie mosque every Friday and we have also prayed at the An-Nur (‘the light’) mosque when we were in Christchurch a few months back. We don’t even carry our I.D’s or take our wallets when we go the mosque because it is our place of worship, our place of comfort, our home. Therefore, any of us could have been the victims but we were fortunate to not be at that place and at that time of the attack. In the light of what has happened, I hope we can all discard our feelings of hate and see each other as equal. I have received overwhelming love and support from friends and loved ones since Friday. Thank you very much for your love and support and I hope we will continue supporting each other through these tough times.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this piece.

Haezreena Begum binti Abdul Hamid