Brothers and sisters in Islam, brothers and sisters in humanity, brothers and sisters in New Zealand. Last Friday I stood in this mosque and saw hatred and rage in the eyes of the terrorist, who killed and martyred 50 people, wounded 42 and broke the hearts of millions around the world.
Today, from the same place, I look out and see the love and compassion in the eyes of thousands of fellow New Zealanders and fellow human beings from across the globe that fill the hearts of millions more who are not with us physically but in spirit.
This terrorist sought to tear our nation apart with an evil ideology that has torn the world apart. But, instead, we have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable. And that the world can see in us an example of love and unity. We are broken-hearted but we are not broken. We are alive. We are together. We are determined to not let anyone divide us.
We are determined to love one another and to support each other. This evil ideology of white supremacy did not strike us first, yet it has struck us hardest. The number of people killed is not extraordinary but the solidarity in New Zealand is extraordinary.
To the families of the victims, your loved ones did not die in vain. Their blood has watered the seeds of hope. Through them, the world will see the beauty of Islam and the beauty of our unity. Do not say of those who have been killed in the way of Allah that they are dead. They are alive, rejoicing with their Lord.
They were the best of us, taken from us on the best of days, in the best of places. And performing the best of actions. They are not just martyrs of Islam but they are martyrs of this nation, New Zealand.
Our loss of you is a gain to New Zealand’s unity and strength. Your departure is an awakening not just for our nation but for all humanity. Your martyrdom is a new life for New Zealand and a chance of prosperity for many. Our assembly here, with all the shades of our diversity, is a testament of our joint humanity. We are here in our hundreds and thousands unified for one purpose – that hate will be undone and love will redeem us.
We are taught by our prophet, Mohamed, that you can never truly show gratitude to the almighty God without thanking your fellow man.
To the people of New Zealand, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your tears. Thank you for your haka. Thank you for your flowers. Thank you for your love and compassion.
To our prime minister, thank you. Thank you for your leadership. It has been a lesson for the world’s leaders. Thank you for holding our families close and honouring us with a simple scarf. Thank you for your words and tears of compassion. Thank you for being one with us.
Thank you to the New Zealand government and to all the wonderful people who have shown us that we matter and are not forgotten.
Thank you to our police force and front-line services. You put our lives before your own every day.
Thank you to the neighbours who opened their doors to save us from the killer. Thank you to those who pulled over their cars to help us. Thank you to those who brought us food and helped us when we found it difficult to stand.
Thank you, thank you, New Zealand. Thank you for teaching the world what it means to love and care.
To my brothers and sisters, those who are here today, to perform the weekly Friday prayer, thank you for coming together once again. It is easy to feel lost after the trauma you and I experienced. But the promise of Allah made to us is true. Give glad news to the patient, those [who], when afflicted, say ‘to Allah we all belong, and to him we shall return’. These are those upon whom God’s mercy descends.
Thank you for your strength and your forgiveness. Thank you for your anger that is restrained and for your mercy that is overflowing. Thank you for your steadfastness and standing tall when others would fall. Thank you.
Islamophobia kills. Muslims have felt its pain before. It has killed people in Canada and it was used against us in Norway and against innocent people in the UK, USA, and other countries around the world.
Islamophobia is real. It is a targeted campaign to influence people to dehumanise and irrationally fear muslims. To fear what we wear, to fear the choice of food we eat, to fear the way we pray and to fear the way we practice our faith. We call upon governments around the world including New Zealand and the neighbouring countries to bring an end to hate speech and the politics of fear.
The martyrdom of 50 people and the injury of 42 did not come overnight, it was the result of the anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim rhetoric of some political leaders, media agencies and others.
Last week’s event is proof and evidence to the entire world that terrorism has no colour, has no race, and has no religion.
The rise of white supremacy and right-wing extremism is a great global threat to mankind and this must end now.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my Muslim and non-Muslim brothers and sisters for attending today and I would like also to thank our international guests who are with us and have come to our support and aid in these difficult times.
Oh Allah, have mercy upon us all. Oh Allah, have mercy upon those who were massacred last week. Oh Allah, grant to them the highest level of paradise. Oh Allah grant to the injured a speedy recovery and grant to the families of the victims patience. Oh Allah, grant our nation and country New Zealand peace, security, and protect it and its people from all evils. Oh Allah, grant to the entire world peace, security, and prosperity. Oh Allah, protect New Zealand, Oh Allah, protect New Zealanders and the world.
Gamal Fouda, Imam, Al-Noor-Mosque in Christchurch.