Al Noor Mosque Imam Gamal Fouda today spoke to thousands of people of all faiths at Friday prayers in Hagley Park, a week after the terrorist attack in which many of his worshippers were murdered. Below, an abridged transcript of what he said.
Last Friday I stood in this mosque and saw hatred and rage in the eyes of the terrorist who killed 50 people, wounded 48 and broke the hearts of millions around the world. Today, from the same place I look out and I see the love and compassion in the eyes of thousands of fellow New Zealanders and human beings from across the globe who fill the hearts of millions.
The terrorist tried to tear the nation apart with evil ideology. Instead we have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable. And that the world can see injustice an example of love and unity.
We are brokenhearted but we are not broken.
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. 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. The beauty of Islam and the beauty of our unity. 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. 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 giant 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 told by our prophet Mohammed that you can never truly show gratitude to almighty God if you are incapable of loving your fellow man. To the people of New Zealand, thank you for your peace. 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 deeds 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 frontline services. You put our lives before your own, every day. Thank you to the neighbours, for opening your 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 New Zealand 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.
Thank you for anger that is restrained and your mercy that is overflowing. Thank you for your steadfastness.
Islamophobia kills. Muslims have felt its pain for years around the world.
Islamophobia is real. It is a targeted campaign to dehumanise and irrationally fear Muslims. To fear what we wear. The choice of food we eat. To fear the way we pray and the way we practise our faith.
We call on governments around the world, including New Zealand’s and its 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-Muslim rhetoric of some political leaders, media agencies and others. Last week’s events are 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 have come to our support and aid in these difficult times.
Have mercy upon us all. Oh, Allah, grant the word peace, security and prosperity. Oh, Allah, protect New Zealand and protect New Zealanders.