Members of the Muslim Community at Masjid Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (INL Picture)
“Islam is a religion that stands for peace and our Muslim brothers and sisters in New Zealand live and work in harmony with all communities,” Employment Minister Willie Jackson said.
Speaking at the ‘Open Evening’ held yesterday (Friday, March 22, 2019) at Masjid Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq located at 5B Cortina Place in Pakuranga, he recalled the words of the first victim of the terrorist attack in Christchurch on March 15, 2019.
New Zealanders unite
“This Muslim worshipper said, ‘Hello Brother,’ to the terrorist as he entered Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch as Muslims gathered for Friday Prayers. This was a cowardly act of the terrorist whose massacre led to the death of 50 innocent men, women and children. This was an extreme criminal act of a man who was a white supremist,” he said.
Mr Jackson said that right-wing extremists and the terrorist wanted to divide New Zealanders and instil fear in their hearts.
“The opposite happened. New Zealanders have come together, expressed their solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters. We are a nation of immigrants and we value our multicultural and multiethnic society. Our government will do everything possible to ensure that the Muslim community and indeed all New Zealanders are safe and secure,” he said.
He said that the terrorist attacks and murders were carried out by a foreigner (Australian) and that no New Zealander would think of such a terrible act.
“Our government is now planning to enact a new legislation that will ban Semi-automatics and assault rifles. We have the support of all political parties to have in place a stringent gun control regime. We are all united in protecting our land and our people,” he said.
Mr Jackson praised the exemplary work of the New Zealand Police and said that heavy presence at Mosques and other places in Christchurch and other cities was self-assuring.
Jami-Lee Ross, now an Independent Member of Parliament elected from Botany Constituency, said that every person in this country is a New Zealander.
“I am a Muslim, I am a Kiwi and I am a New Zealander. We are not a country that divides people. We bring people together. What happened in Christchurch on March 15, 2019 was unforgivable. The fact that all New Zealanders have condemned this massacre and expressed their sympathy and understanding to the Muslim brothers and sisters is demonstration of our New Zealander characteristic of love and care,” he said.
One of the youngest Members of Parliament elected from Pakuranga Constituency, Simeon Brown choked with emotions during his speech.
“Just three days ago, God bless us with our first, child. While my wife Rebecca was pregnant, I used to think that our daughter would be born in the safest country in the world, a country that is free of terrorists and their attacks. The Christchurch massacre has badly shaken my faith. I believe that all of us should be stand and stay together now more than ever before. The past week was a demonstration of our solidarity,” he said.
Mr Brown that with the population representing more than 200 ethnic groups speaking 120 different languages, New Zealand is a truly diverse country.
“I will work harder in my own constituency and bring together various communities and especially our Muslim community,” he said.
Counties Manukau District Commander Jill Rogers said that that the New Zealand Police is committed to serving the Muslim community and that its officers are doing their best to keep them safe and secure.
“In the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, there is high visibility of the Police especially in Mosques all over the country. We will continue to work night and day for the safety of our people. We are proud of our diverse and dedicated Police force,” she said.
Khalil Ahmed Nadat, Imam of the Mosque, conducted the Special Meeting.