‘Hate will be undone, and love will redeem us’

Al Noor Mosque Imam, Gamal Fouda, speaking at Hagley Park in Christchurch today.


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.


That’s an abridged transcript from https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/22-03-2019/hate-will-be-undone-and-love-will-redeem-us-imam-fouda-a-week-on/

27 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 22, 2019

    A very good speech from Garmal Fouda. Just one rather glaring omission. Islamic terrorism has killed far more Muslims than Islamophobia and has surely contributed to generating it. It would have been inclusive to mention that as it affects us all.

    • Mother

       /  March 22, 2019

      I witness very little Islamaphobia. I feel it is important to refute the claim that some politicians are partly to blame for the terrorist attack. This statement should be substantiated with proof. Since politicians are public figures, the error of this judgement will become clear as we now move on.

      • Kimbo

         /  March 22, 2019

        A bit like all the white folks in South Africa who used to assure others that apartheid was relatively benign, indeed beneficial and welcomed by non-whites, or Israelis who tell us about the marvellous economic opportunities for Arabs that come with Jewish settlement of the West Bank, you are probably not the right person to ask about witnessing Islamophobia.

        And when it suits, the same people who criticise the likes of, say, Obama, and defend the likes of, say Donald Trump are very quick to assign the power of influence to the office of POTUS for good or bad as it suits their argument. If nothing else, Trump has proved Teddy Roosevelt’s maxim that the US Presidency is a bully pulpit.

        No, Trump, among a host of other politicians was not “to blame”/directly responsible for what happened last Friday. Only one was. But Trump and also the many unreasonable voices on the left and in the MSM who engage with him in a toxic manner are responsible for helping set the wider context in which the Christchurch tragedy occurred. What effect/influence, if any, that had on the one who committed the atrocity remains to be seen. With a similar shout-out to Winston Peters for his domestic “efforts”.

        But then, given the content and tone of your comment, you don’t strike me as the sort of person who is open to any opposing viewpoint irrespective of it being “substantiated by proof”. Not when you have already decided it needs to be “refuted”.

      • Kimbo

         /  March 22, 2019

        Put it this way, I think that Jacinda Ardern’s response to Donald Trump’s offer to assis if possible – “Yes, show love, compassion and empathy to your Muslim citizens” was good, timely and necessary.

      • Kimbo

         /  March 22, 2019

        …and with a similar shout our for the suspect and divisive tribalism of Obama’s identity politics.

    • Kimbo

       /  March 22, 2019

      Yeah, I initially thought the same but then reflected that above all else, he has a pastoral role to fulfill on behalf of his people in this tragedy, not the many that occur in the global geopolitical sphere.. We all know that jihadist (and that is a better description than “Islamist” IMHO) terrorism exists, indeed as you imly, the NZ Muslim community has in many cases fled to here in the now-false hope we were a safe haven from terrorism. Also the one who did the violence in Christchurch used jihadism as part of his pathetic justification/excuse. So maybe, just maybe mentioning it today would have given him some sort of victory.

      That may not be an entirely rational justification, indeed it may even be a rationalism. Nonetheless today was a matter of healing the heart as a priority ahead of informing the mind. But as the period of mourning passes, there should be a time to develop the necessary breadth and nuance n the new post-March 15 2019 New Zealand.

    • That has had little if any relevance here over the last week.

      if you want tyo get into what has happened overseas you have made glaring omissions – like the artificial boundaries imposed in many areas in the Middle east and Asia, and the invasions by Russian and Western forces over the last few decades. These have all contributed to the international situations – but are in no way an excuse for what one cretin did here.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 22, 2019

        Disagree re relevance. The perpetrator appears to have toured terrorism’s hot spots working up his hatred. And many of the victims had escaped those places. Yes, politics and wars have also contributed but less directly and are in no way an excuse for deliberately killing innocent civilians.

  2. Corky

     /  March 22, 2019

    The world has seen how we treat Muslims. They received the best of what New Zealand has to offer. Their religious practices were observed. Some of those practices went against what liberal western democracies stand for.

    My question is: How will Muslim nations across the world now react to Christians and Westerners? Will they learn from the example we have set..or will it be business as usual?

    We have stepped up to plate. Now it’s time for others to do likewise.

    • Mother

       /  March 22, 2019

      Our Father in Heaven,
      We revere you.

      If we had known this atrocity was about to occur, we would have stopped it. You know we would’ve. We regret that we couldn’t, and we ask you to make right in our lives whatever you know is amiss.

      We pray that the victims will always experience comfort beyond their ongoing trauma. May we each be your good works on earth for all their days ahead.

      Please would you help us to ensure this first time of political terrorism is also our last. Please aid us to recognise false martyrdom, extremism and hatred in their various disguises. Lead us away from self righteousness, frustration and apathy and into a willingness to trust in your goodness.

      May our respect and tolerance for each other mature. We need your help to ensure a continuing and strengthening democracy for our secular society. Please look upon us with mercy as we desire to be a proud and well people.

      We remember that you assured us that the first will be last and the last will be first. If this message is relevant to our individuals collectively, for this time in world history, please give us understanding and right desire, that all our children might live in safety and with prosperity for generations to come. We pray this with selfish motives but trusting you to grow our faith into a willingness for you to receive all honour, power and glory.

      In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

    • yes, it would be god if other countries learn off what has happened here with different religions and atheists coming together with a common problem and a common goal.

      “Their religious practices were observed. Some of those practices went against what liberal western democracies stand for.”

      No details so I’ll just take that as vague nonsense.

      Muslim practices around New Zealand over the past week have been nothing but admirable (and I’ve seen that first hand), especially after the despicable attack against many of them.

      • Corky

         /  March 22, 2019

        As I understand it, in certain areas and places, people were asked not to shake hands unless a hand was proffered. There were separate areas for men and women to pray in SOME places. No woman were pall bearers from what I could see.

        Maybe someone could expand on that…I may be wrong.

        ”No details so I’ll just take that as vague nonsense.”

        I’m sorry if I don’t fit your narrative. But I came to terms with this event long ago. You and many others haven’t.

        • You decided long ago that at some future event you would have a few minor quibbles about what? Shaking hands?

        • Kimbo

           /  March 22, 2019

          If we are indeed, to quote you, a “liberal western democracy” – and of that there is no doubt – then the matters which you mention should be easily and readily accommodated, indeed scarcely noted and mentioned, let alone judged as “against” that for which we stand. Not just on this significant day, but any other. Especially as the legacy and positive dividend of March 15.

        • Corky

           /  March 23, 2019

          All I was saying Pete was we showed tolerance and acceptance of different cultural norms.We showed we were prepared to live in peace..and show respect.

          Is it unfair to expect others to show the same latitude? To live in peace we have to come to a cultural agreement where tolerance is shown by all parties.

          That’s not really different from what you want.

          A case study of Mauritius, before and after, is a case in point.

          @ Kimbo.

          ”then the matters which you mention should be easily and readily accommodated, indeed scarcely noted and mentioned, let alone judged as “against” that for which we stand.”

          I mentioned them to make a point. On such an occasion such practices were of no angst for me. However, that’s not as easily accommodated in actual life as you would like. For example in some Muslim countries the bible; wearing crosses and women’s
          rights are not permitted.

          Obviously others will have to come to the table if we are to live in peace.

          That’s the sticking point. I as a westerner refuse to abrogate women’s rights regardless of the situation in our country. My guess is some Muslims countries will refuse to accept women and Christians as equals, both in life and law.

          All of that is OK in each respective country..however when populations mingle it can be a problem.

          • But can you point to any sign of it being a problem inn New Zealand?

            It’s not just (some) Muslim countries that have oppressive laws. I pointed out new anti-free speech laws in Russia – they have also changed their laws oppressing homosexuals, and they have recently relaxed laws on domestic assault, in a country already with serious alcohol and violence problems.

            Should we fear Putin law in New Zealand?

            • Corky

               /  March 23, 2019

              ”But can you point to any sign of it being a problem in New Zealand?”

              No, I cannot point to any signs of that being a problem in New Zealand. The nearest I could offer is a Muslim body saying all food should be Halal
              certified. And the other being Muslim women not having an independent organisational voice in New Zealand. They have an organisation, but it’s not independent of the main men’s organisation.

              ”Should we fear Putin’s law in New Zealand?”

              No..but it’s a numbers game. In places where there are large Russian immigrant populations, they have the Russian Mafia.

            • Blazer

               /  March 23, 2019

              @Corky…and the ‘Thai Mafia’,’dally Mafia’…insert whatever you want …the Italians should copyright it.😁

            • Corky

               /  March 23, 2019

              Yeah, there’s mafias and there’s mafias. The Russians have a notorious reputation.

              Like religions, some are more hardline than others.✔

  3. The Consultant

     /  March 22, 2019

    Fascinating. One aspect that I assume we would have seen from a Christian priest/pastor making the same spiel, would have been some words about forgiving the killer; the whole Jesus on the Cross, Forgive them for they know not what they do, stuff.

    I doubt anybody here has much expertise on Islam but I’m wondering if there is any such forgiveness of such a killer in that religion since we didn’t see it expressed here. Similarly with Judism, with that whole An eye for an eye thing.

    Not being religious I’d be fine if there wasn’t any. No way I’d be forgiving the bastard and actually it always grinds me when I hear priests blathering on about it.

  4. The Consultant

     /  March 22, 2019

    The rise of white supremacy and right wing extremism is a great global threat to mankind and this must end now.

    Uh huh. This part is very political: a great global threat?

    I guess it depends how you define them, but the last eighty years at least have seen a huge reduction in both compared to the early 20th century and most of the 19th. You want to see mass white supremacy? Go look at the Belgian Congo and the Atlantic African slave trade in the 19th century, the USA itself and numerous European colonial regimes up to about the 1960’s.

    And right wing extremism rising and powerful? Does he mean Trump and his minions? Putin? Eastern European nationalist party’s? None of them are really a patch on the Gestapo and the rest of those folk, which New Zealanders shed rather a lot of blood and treasure against to defeat, along with vastly more from other parts of the West, much of which itself were then more “Right WIng” than today.

    Nope. This part sounds like trying to preempt any criticism of Islam within NZ. It may work too, so I suppose we’ll have to rely on Left-wing atheists?

    • Kimbo

       /  March 22, 2019

      Would 50 massacred in the last week in one of the most peaceful and religiously and racially harmonious countries on earth count as sufficient evidence of a rising “threat”, rather than an attempt to preempt criticism of Islam”.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 22, 2019

        Not really since it appears to be a single individual. One swallow doesn’t make a summer. I don’t see much to indicate it won’t be decades before a similar attempt occurs.

        • Kimbo

           /  March 22, 2019

          The 77 massacred in Norway for likely the same reason as last Friday were also this decade (2011). Sufficient body count yet for it to be taken seriously as a continual threat, including in the most unlikely places

          ? But you are right that both were single individuals…just as are many jihadist terrorists. But for some reason they are treated by many as a consolidated whole.

          Either way, in the context of 50 of his fellow Muslims murdered in cold blood last week, I’m struggling to see why the mention was motivated out of a perceived need to “preempt criticism of Islam in New Zealand”. Especially if, as before, many of the perpetrators of jihadist terror in the West are…individuals.