A year ago on Sunday, an Australian white supremacist murdered 51 people as they worshipped in mosques in Christchurch. Husna Ahmed was one of the victims. Her husband Farid survived, and is using the anniversary of the shooting to share his philosophy of forgiveness, peace and love.
FARID AHMED: My name is Farid Ahmed, I’m a survivor of March 15, the tragedy that took place. My wife was one of those who were killed.
We believed that we married forever. And we were very happy.
She wanted to become a voluntary social worker.
She was teaching children, she used to help the pregnant ladies. Whatever she could do, to help people.
It was Friday, like every other Friday, I was driving. We were talking. We were catching up. Lots of things, that she needed to tell me. And I needed to tell her.
And her last word was, “Can I take the key? I should take the key. Remember we have to pick up our daughter.”
She went to the lady’s side, I went to the men’s side.
After a few minutes — it sounded like a gun, then the special police came.
And there were shouting that it was not safe there. I had to get out.
So, they helped me to come out. I had been waiting on the outside of the police squadron and trying to find out any clue where she was, what happened to her?
But no-one was helping me. I received a phone call from a police inspector.
So he confirmed that she was dead. He said, “She’s not coming home. And you’re going to have a very long night. But I’m sorry.”
And at the same time, I was also feeling sad for the shooter.
He must have suffered somewhere in his life or he must have got the wrong understanding, about himself and other people.
Something is wrong. And I’m lucky, I’m fortunate that I’m not like him.
I have chosen peace. I have chosen love and I have forgiven.
If we go on a vendetta – revenge and revenge, where will it end?
At some stage, somebody has to stop it. And that is only can be done through forgiveness.
DERYA INER, CHARLES STURT UNIVERSITY: I think Faird Ahmed is a really good example, not for only Muslim communities, but for all of us, who are sometimes living, sometimes witnessing hate, abuse, discrimination.
One year on from the Christchurch tragedy, I think it is important to stop and reflect. Every day racism should be taken seriously, because it is the beginning level.
We should stop it before it becomes a danger, a problem, a bigger problem that cannot be handled.
FARID AHMED: I decided to write the book to honour the memory of my wife and to share love with others. I’m a Muslim and I’m a human being. I’m a New Zealander. And I am a victim. I don’t hate anyone. You do not need to hate me.