During the World Tolerance Summit in the United Arab Emirates, the Imam of New Zealand’s Al Noor Mosque, Sheikh Gamal Fouda, spread the message that an “evil ideology will never triumph over love and unity.”
He’s a survivor of the March 15th attacks which left 51 dead, after a gunman opened fire on worshippers during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch.
Inspire Middle East’s Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham began by asking the religious figure how he was coping psychologically in the wake of the attacks.
“Until today, I haven't got any psychological support. I'm very traumatised,” he said. “Especially after like three weeks ago, I started to see things and to recall everything and what happened. And whenever somebody talks about what happened, I feel very, very sick.”
The Imam spoke of how his congregation was coping and trying to rebuild itself eight months on from the shootings.
“The community now, it is healing,” he said. “Especially after the distribution of the financial support to the families. The children - is a big thing, they need lots of support. The children there went to school, and they came back, and the father is not there. Some of the parents, their mother hasn't told the children yet that the father is gone.”
When asked how he spreads a message of peace and tolerance in a community deeply affected by the mosque killings, the Imam said:
“Religious leaders, whether they are Muslims or Christian or Jewish or people of faith or no faith, they have responsibility. And when you have justice and when you have equality and unity, when you have all the support that you need as a human being anywhere in the world, of course, you are going to send a message of love.”