MS PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (15:51:00): I too rise on this motion to offer my condolences. Like so many across the world and in this chamber, on Friday I was shocked, I was appalled, I was frightened and I was so incredibly sad upon hearing the news of the awful terror attacks in Christchurch and the brutal murder of 50 people. On the weekend, like thousands of other Victorians, I visited a mosque to lay flowers and show my solidarity with our Muslim community over this horrific tragedy. In my case I went to the Albanian Mosque in Drummond Street in Carlton where I was welcomed by Imam Dr Bekim Hasani. I too was overwhelmed by how a community that could easily be forgiven for being angry chose to fight those feelings with love and peace, and to show that those are the tenets of their faith. Atta Elayyan was the goalkeeper for the Canterbury men’s futsal team. He was shot by the gunman as he prayed. The Palestinian man, born in Kuwait, recently became a father and was a popular member of the Christchurch tech industry. He was 33. Christchurch engineer Ali Elmadani was killed as he prayed. His daughter, consumed by grief, told the media that her father had always said to be strong, and that was what she was trying to do. Syrian refugee Khaled Mustafa and his family thought they had found a safe haven from death and torture when they arrived in New Zealand only a few months ago, but Mustafa was killed while praying. His son, Zaid, who is 13, is still fighting for his life. Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim died in his father’s arms. The toddler, believed to be the youngest victim of the massacre, was with his father and older brother when the gunman opened fire. His older brother said he was ‘energetic, playful and liked to smile and laugh a lot’. The family posted a photo of Mucad, with the caption ‘Verily we belong to God and to Him we shall return’. These are just some of the lives that will be missed forever, and I send my condolences to all their families. What really puts this brutal attack into perspective for me was the story of Haji-Daoid Nabi. Mr Nabi, a 71-year-old man worshipping at the mosque, had his last words on this earth recorded and to me they exemplify the good that the community in Christchurch has lost. His last words were ‘Welcome, brother’. Those two simple words, delivered with peace and open arms, were uttered to a man who then shot him dead. New Zealand is not just that place across the ditch. As the Prime Minister said following the attacks, they are ‘our family’. Indeed they are our brothers and sisters, and we join in mourning all the victims, the survivors and the community for which this attack will forever be a part of their lives. To all New Zealanders, Kei a matou tena. We are with you.
Condolence motion – Christchurch mosques terror attack
by Fiona Patten / Tuesday, 19 March 2019 / Published in
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