Remembering March 15

In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

Today marks the anniversary of the March 15 attacks in Christchurch and I write this with a heavy heart. I won’t be writing this post with my signature humor or comics, but rather I am writing as a Kiwi Muslim, remembering my brothers and sisters who perished in the attacks.

The March 15 terror attacks shook our nation to its very core and exposed some of the ugly, insidious racist tendencies that simmered among our people. ‘This is not us’ we said as we, as a nation struggled to come to terms with the devastation inflicted upon one of our communities.

The days that followed however, showed how we Kiwis, as a community banded together for the greater good. Security was stepped-up at mosques nation-wide, donations were collected for the victims and members of the wider community (even the gang members) stepped up to help the Muslim community.

More importantly, a bill was passed, tightening up the loopholes in our relatively lax gun laws – making it harder for weapons of terror to be obtained on our shores. It passed with very little resistance and for that I will always admire the political will of the people of NZ. We know how to put aside petty differences for the common good.

We Muslims aren’t very big on remembrances or memorials. We don’t even organise wakes for our deceased. However, we understand that this event didn’t affect only the Kiwi Muslim community as March 15 is every Kiwi’s tragedy. While the threat of COVID-19 prevents us from organising any public memorial, you can always keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers.

More importantly, stay vigilant. Not only against the COVID-19 virus, but also of that far more insidious virus of hatred and rampant nationalism. Keep on calling out racist behaviour and report any forms of discrimination. If you know of anyone who has even made any mention (even a ‘joke’) of inflicting violence on a community, it is your responsibility to inform the authorities. If we can take measures to prevent the spread of physical viruses, we can do the same to prevent the spread of social viruses.

Kia Kaha NZ, together we will stamp out all forms of racism and extremism.



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