As-salamu alaikum – Peace be with you.
So began an event recognising the need to publicly stand up and say that terrorism is not acceptable, no matter who the perpetrator is.
A large gathering of those who believe that everyone should be safe from violence and that we all need to support each other in peace with respect and goodwill was held last Saturday at the library in Lismore.
The afternoon was hosted by Remembering and Healing Inc (RaH).
Local leaders, clergy and members of the community came together to mourn, reflect and support each other after the recent terrible terror attacks in Christchurch.
Jenny Dowell MCd the afternoon which saw many speak about the need for respect, unity and love across all religions and people and an understanding that we are one mob on one planet.
Group coordinator Sabina Baltruweit and the RaH group created an atmosphere of warmth and togetherness in the foyer of the library.
Speakers included Abdul Aziz, President NR Muslim Association, Bishop Greg Homeming, Reverend Al Shaw, Colin Cussell representing the Jewish community, Judith Light from the Baha’i faith, Christina Peebles for the Buddhist community, Ruth Haig representing the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and chaplain from SCU Robert Lingard – those gathered also heard from Isaac Smith, Mayor of Lismore. Janelle Saffin, soon to be Member for Lismore and Police Inspector Susie Johnston.
Abdul Aziz spoke earnestly about the difficulty of being a Muslim in an often bigoted atmosphere and his appreciation for the community support after the terrorist attack in Christchurch.
‘It’s great. It makes me feel really safe and loved in this community and accepted as a Muslim,’ said Abdul during afternoon tea following the official part of the day. ‘For the last whole decade we have been struggling with the fact that anyone with a beard, any Muslim, is labelled as a terrorist.
‘There is at least a goodness that has come out of this which is that terrorism is not isolated only to Islam. Terrorism is a religion on its own, regardless of race, colour or religion, it attacks anyone, any one, any innocent being – it takes the lives of innocent people.’
Abdul says he was really surprised about the event. ‘I really want to thank Sabina who organised this whole thing and the RaH group’.