Gisborne community now will have heightened awareness

Gisborne Muslim community spokesman Mohammed Khan. Picture by Paul Rickard

Awareness of who comes and goes to Gisborne Islamic community gatherings will heighten in the wake of the terrorist attack in two Christchurch Mosques yesterday, says Fijian Muslim Mohammed Khan.

The Gisborne Islamic community of around 30 is shocked, but none are personally affected by yesterday’s tragic events.

Forty-nine people were shot dead and 42 injured in a terrorist attack at two Christchurch mosques yesterday afernoon.

Fijian Muslim Mohammed Khan said most of the Gisborne community was here because of halal killing work at the meat processing plant Ovation.

“As far as I know most of the Muslim people in Gisborne do not have relatives in Christchurch and I am not aware of any students from Gisborne Muslim families in Christchurch.”

He said the small community here did not feel threatened from the terrorist attack, an unprecedented event in New Zealand.

“The majority of the Muslim community here are from Fiji like me, and mostly work in Halal. We are practising Muslims and we do not do anything like killing or any seriously violent acts . It is not in the teachings we follow.”

He said the group did have gatherings at a home in Gisborne but difficulties with them all on different rosters meant these gatherings were not regular.

Yesterday’s event meant the community would have heightened awareness of who was coming and going to such events going forwards.

Mr Khan is a member of the worldwide Muslim community Ahmadiyya.

“Our motto is ‘love for all and hatred for no one’.”

He said he had been watching the television coverage of the attacks.

“I cannot understand what motivation is behind this. It seems so impossible for this to happen so far away in New Zealand.

“We stand to protect any place of worship from any such things happening. We do not condone this,” Mr Khan said.

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon said he was “deeply saddened” by the tragic events in Christchurch.

“Our love goes to the families that are affected by this tragedy. Our support also goes to the wider Muslim community as well as the Christchurch community. I know it is a very difficult time for you all. This is indeed a dark day in the history of New Zealand. We mourn with you. God bless you all,” Mr Foon said.

Tairawhiti Multicultural Council president Arish Naresh said he was devastated by the news.

“Our hearts go out to people and families affected by the unprecedented and devastating events that have shocked all of New Zealand”

He said the Tairawhiti Multicultural Council had worked tirelessly over the past years to promote inclusion and diversity in our community and believed the “cowardly attacks” were not what Aotearoa is about.

“Migrants chose New Zealand as a place to live and bring up families because it is seen as a peace-loving country that values the richness of all religions and cultures.

“We are devastated by the news and stand by our Muslim brothers and sisters in these difficult times.

“We also encourage that we do not respond to hate with hate. Let’s not let the actions of a few take away the beauty of Aotearoa and the love it has provided to multicultural communities over the years” Mr Naresh said.

■ Gisborne Hospital has heightened security following a request from the Ministry of Health. A message was sent from the ministry to hospitals around the country to monitor and control the flow of people around the hospital, said Hauora Tairawhiti communications manager Fraser Hopkins this morning.

Gisborne Hospital had extra security but patients were not likely to notice anything different, he said.

■ A special service to pay tribute to those killed in yesterday’s terrorist attacks will be held at the Holy Trinity Church in Derby St at 7pm tomorrow.

■ In a post today on the Tairawhiti Multicultural Council Facebook page, the public is invited to an “odd socks” vigil to mark UN International Day Against All Forms of Discrimination on March 21.

“The events that happened in Christchurch clearly stemmed from hatred based on religion,” says the post. “TMC invites members of the Tairawhiti community to bring a candle and wear odd pairs of socks at a vigil/remembrance for the victims of the attacks.

“The significance of the odd socks is that no two people are the same but we all have the right to peace and acceptance regardless of our race, religion and creed.”

Awareness of who comes and goes to Gisborne Islamic community gatherings will heighten in the wake of the terrorist attack in two Christchurch Mosques yesterday, says Fijian Muslim Mohammed Khan.

The Gisborne Islamic community of around 30 is shocked, but none are personally affected by yesterday’s tragic events.

Forty-nine people were shot dead and 42 injured in a terrorist attack at two Christchurch mosques yesterday afernoon.

Fijian Muslim Mohammed Khan said most of the Gisborne community was here because of halal killing work at the meat processing plant Ovation.

“As far as I know most of the Muslim people in Gisborne do not have relatives in Christchurch and I am not aware of any students from Gisborne Muslim families in Christchurch.”

He said the small community here did not feel threatened from the terrorist attack, an unprecedented event in New Zealand.

“The majority of the Muslim community here are from Fiji like me, and mostly work in Halal. We are practising Muslims and we do not do anything like killing or any seriously violent acts . It is not in the teachings we follow.”

He said the group did have gatherings at a home in Gisborne but difficulties with them all on different rosters meant these gatherings were not regular.

Yesterday’s event meant the community would have heightened awareness of who was coming and going to such events going forwards.

Mr Khan is a member of the worldwide Muslim community Ahmadiyya.

“Our motto is ‘love for all and hatred for no one’.”

He said he had been watching the television coverage of the attacks.

“I cannot understand what motivation is behind this. It seems so impossible for this to happen so far away in New Zealand.

“We stand to protect any place of worship from any such things happening. We do not condone this,” Mr Khan said.

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon said he was “deeply saddened” by the tragic events in Christchurch.

“Our love goes to the families that are affected by this tragedy. Our support also goes to the wider Muslim community as well as the Christchurch community. I know it is a very difficult time for you all. This is indeed a dark day in the history of New Zealand. We mourn with you. God bless you all,” Mr Foon said.

Tairawhiti Multicultural Council president Arish Naresh said he was devastated by the news.

“Our hearts go out to people and families affected by the unprecedented and devastating events that have shocked all of New Zealand”

He said the Tairawhiti Multicultural Council had worked tirelessly over the past years to promote inclusion and diversity in our community and believed the “cowardly attacks” were not what Aotearoa is about.

“Migrants chose New Zealand as a place to live and bring up families because it is seen as a peace-loving country that values the richness of all religions and cultures.

“We are devastated by the news and stand by our Muslim brothers and sisters in these difficult times.

“We also encourage that we do not respond to hate with hate. Let’s not let the actions of a few take away the beauty of Aotearoa and the love it has provided to multicultural communities over the years” Mr Naresh said.

■ Gisborne Hospital has heightened security following a request from the Ministry of Health. A message was sent from the ministry to hospitals around the country to monitor and control the flow of people around the hospital, said Hauora Tairawhiti communications manager Fraser Hopkins this morning.

Gisborne Hospital had extra security but patients were not likely to notice anything different, he said.

■ A special service to pay tribute to those killed in yesterday’s terrorist attacks will be held at the Holy Trinity Church in Derby St at 7pm tomorrow.

■ In a post today on the Tairawhiti Multicultural Council Facebook page, the public is invited to an “odd socks” vigil to mark UN International Day Against All Forms of Discrimination on March 21.

“The events that happened in Christchurch clearly stemmed from hatred based on religion,” says the post. “TMC invites members of the Tairawhiti community to bring a candle and wear odd pairs of socks at a vigil/remembrance for the victims of the attacks.

“The significance of the odd socks is that no two people are the same but we all have the right to peace and acceptance regardless of our race, religion and creed.”

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