United in grief

A BROAD cross section of the community turned out at the Perth Mosque last Saturday (March 23) to remember victims of the Christchurch shooting.

Muslim leaders welcomed Aboriginal dancers from Corroboree for Life, Maoris from Haka for Life, and many locals at their William Street mosque for the service.

Imam Mohammed Shakeeb thanked the Kiwi community for showing their love and support.

“I’d also like to thank all those wonderful people who came to our mosque to present flowers and cards,” Imam Shakeeb said.

“Some of them came while they were in tears.

“I have no words to express my gratitude for your love and compassion. Thank you very much.”

• Imam Mohammed Shakeeb performing the traditional Maori gesture the hongi with Haka for Life founder Leon Ruri. Photo by Brian Osborne

A minute’s silence was held to remember the victims.

“I encourage all of you who also share my belief in God to pray silently with me, and those who may not believe in God to observe a minute’s silence in respect of the victims,” Imam Shakeeb said.

Afterwards the victims’ names were read out.

The Imam had high praise for New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, thanking her for “leading by example and showing the world how a leader should behave. I wish we had more leaders like you,” he said, to wide applause.

“You brought your people together in the face of this tragedy.

“You showed courage when confronting hatred.

“You came to the mosque wearing a headscarf and provided a shoulder to cry on. You told relatives of the victims that you would take care of all funeral expenses, regardless of citizenship or visa status.

“You put politics to one side, you didn’t behave like a politician, in fact you behaved like a human being.”

by DAVID BELL

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