12 March 1991 - Current
Ms SULEYMAN (St Albans) (14:55:47): Around 1.40 p.m. on Friday, 15 March, hundreds of worshippers were attending the Friday prayer at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch. At Al Noor Mosque Imam Gamal Fouda was delivering a sermon to the congregation, who were quiet in prayer. It was then that the silence was shattered by the horror that was beginning to unfold—a day that cut short the lives of 50 people, and maybe more. Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim was the youngest victim of Friday’s attack. When he was carried out of the mosque by his father his shoes were still at the entrance, where he had left them when he arrived. Seventy-one-year-old Haji-Daoud Nabi, who was born in Afghanistan and moved to New Zealand in the 1980s, is believed to have thrown himself in front of others to protect them. Twenty-three-year-old Ansi Alibava, who was studying a masters of management, had moved to New Zealand with her husband a year ago. Sayyad Milne was only 14 years old and attended Cashmere High School and dreamed of one day becoming a professional footballer. Linda Armstrong, 65, worked with refugees and attended the mosque every Friday. Naeem Rashid, a teacher and father of three who was busy planning the wedding of his son, 22-year-old Talha, tried to stop the attacker and protect his son. Neither father nor son survived. Forty-two-year-old Husne Ara Parvin ran to find and shield her wheelchair-bound husband, but she did not make it. These are just some of the 50 people who lost their lives. These people were fathers, mothers, grandparents, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours. They were refugees, immigrants and New Zealand born. They are Kiwis. They are Muslim. They are us. Our hearts are broken. We know that terror has no boundaries. We have seen the rise of terror attacks on places of worship, including the synagogue attack in Pittsburgh, the bombings of churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday and a man driving into a crowd of Muslim worshippers leaving a mosque after prayer in England. These sorts of attacks have caused such pain across the world. With all that is occurring globally, one thing has emerged, which is that terrorism will not break us nor define us. We unite against bigotry. We unite against hate. We unite against terror. We stand together as one to condemn these callous and cowardly attacks on humanity. My message to our community is to remain strong. We must work together and we must call out every form of racism. We must call this out and we cannot remain silent. I am extremely touched by the solidarity of all Victorians offering support, offering love and offering compassion. I know that the Muslim community appreciates the solidarity at this dark time. I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, for her strength and courageous leadership; the first responders, the paramedics and police; the medical staff at hospitals; the counselling staff; all the volunteers; the beautiful people of New Zealand; and everybody across the world who has reached out in this time of global terror. As I conclude, I send my prayers and duas to the victims’ families. May Allah grant you patience to mourn. To those who are injured, I pray that you have the strength to recover. As the journey has begun for the lives that are lost, we hope that their last words were: I testify that there is no God but Allah. And Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah. To Allah we belong and to Allah we return. Peace be upon you.