A Friday stabbing in Auckland has revived the Muslim community’s feelings of shock and trauma from the Christchurch attack, as Muslim condemned the attack as contradicting with the Islamic faith.
“When (this event) happened, immediately the phones started going, it resurrected all the trauma, it resurrected all the feelings that we had of the loss,” chairman of the Federation of Islamic Association NZ Abdur Razzaq told TVNZ.
He added, “We are very mindful of those workers at the Countdown, the bystanders, they’re obviously feeling trauma. This trauma will last for a while because we see our March 15 victims still suffering”.
On Friday afternoon, a man carried out an “ISIS-inspired” attack with a knife on shoppers at the Countdown in west Auckland’s LynnMall.
Seven people were injured in the terrorist attack, including three who remain in critical condition as of Sunday morning.
The man was shot dead by police. He was later identified as 32-year-old Sri Lankan national Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen.
“Our first and foremost thoughts are with the victims, their families, their friends and we pray for their early recovery,” Razzaq said.
The Muslim Association of Canterbury has set up a Givealittle page for the victims of the attack and more than $24,000 has already been raised.
“Our heart is with them, and they must know we are with them, and we are praying for them, for a speedy recovery. Kia kaha, I will say to them, we are one, we are with them, we love them,” March 15 survivor Temel Atacocugu, who was shot nine times at Al Noor mosque, said.
Not Our Faith
While some took the occasion to spread messages of anti-Muslim hate, members of the Muslim community used social media to condemn the events.
Comments include that “the terrorist is not one of us”, that he was a “lone wolf” and had “nothing to do with our faith and our beliefs”.
Some even apologized for the attacker’s actions and was met with an outpouring of love from people online saying, “NZ does not blame you”.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has condemned the “violent attack”, saying it was “senseless”.
“It was despicable, it was hateful, it was wrong. It was carried out by an individual, not faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity – but an individual person who was gripped by an ideology that is not supported here by anyone or any community,” she said, Newshub reported.
“He alone carries the responsibility for these acts. Let that be where the judgement falls.”
Islam in New Zealand is a religious affiliation representing about 1.3% of the total population.
Small numbers of Muslim immigrants from South Asia and eastern Europe settled in New Zealand from the early 1900s until the 1960s. Large-scale Muslim immigration began in the 1970s with the arrival of Fiji Indians, followed in the 1990s by refugees from various war-torn countries.
The first Islamic center opened in 1959 and there are now several mosques and two Islamic schools.