It’s been a week since the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand…
A country I’ve called home for nearly 15 Years. As a Muslim in a Western Country, I’ve never once felt unsafe due to my religious beliefs, faith and culture and always felt I was able to practice my faith without anyone’s interference. And yet such a horrific attack happened in such a safe country. It’s strange as a Muslim woman living in a western country to experience that you are surrounded with so much love, compassion, empathy and peace from non-Muslims following such a horrific terrorist attack, one that we will remember forever. And whilst my heart aches for the victims and their families, it also is a country I am incredibly proud of to call HOME! Even more proud than I was before and this was as a direct result of the amazing compassion of the people of Atearoa!
I grew up in apartheid era South Africa and apartheid was abolished when I was an adult, so I do know segregation, I do know people treating you different because of the colour of your skin, I do know of fewer opportunities due to the colour of your skin. I have never let that define me! I will never let those past experiences define me! Instead it has taught me to be more tolerant of others, of those that are not like me. But it has also helped me become a better me! It’s helped me to be tenacious and as a result I’ve achieved some amazing things in life!
How has the Christchurch attack affected me? As a Muslim woman how does this change thing for me? The attack felt personal. It has been scary. It has been emotional. It’s caused some anxiety. I felt concerned for my children. I felt concern for my family and friends. But given I’ve had a week to come to grips with this, I’ve had a week to confront all the emotions, I’ve also had a week for my heart to fill with so much more love for the people around me. For our nation and how they stand with us. And the words continue to ring in my head “This is NOT who we are. Kia Kaha” and “We are them” and “They are us”. NEVER have I felt so inclusive! NEVER have I felt that I belong more than I do now. NEVER have I felt safer as ironic that must sound! There will still be people in the world that want to do horrible things to others, but this beautiful country with the long white cloud I live in, have made a stand! The world has never seen so much unity in a country!
To the man that committed this heinous crime. May God forgive you for what you have done! But you will be haunted by the 50 beautiful lives you’ve taken and you will be haunted that in fact what you tried to achieve, you have just created the opposite!
What have you created?
- You have created more love amongst all of us Kiwis
- You have created more compassion amongst all of us Kiwis
- You have created more unity amongst all of us Kiwis
- You have created more hope amongst all of us Kiwis
- You have spread the word of Islam amongst all of us Kiwis
- You have ensured that every Kiwi now know what Islam stands for
- You have ensured that every Kiwi now know where their local Mosque is
- You have ensured that our Mosques are fuller
- You have ensured that Parliament is now opened with the Islamic prayer
- You have ensured that the call to prayer will be broadcast nationally on Radio & TV
- You have ensure that the gun laws have changed
- You have ensure that Kiwis voluntarily hand in their guns
- And you have ensured that our Prime Minister will never utter your name and we will follow suit!
Today, I am a PROUD KIWI!