Christchurch mosques terror attack condolences

CondolencesThe Victorian Parliament has paid tribute to the victims of the Christchurch mosques terror attack.

Condolences were offered to their families and friends, and Members of Parliament stood in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and with Muslim communities. As a mark of respect, a minute’s silence was observed in Parliament.

“Today on behalf of our Parliament, on behalf of our state I would like to begin by expressing my deepest sympathy and solidarity with those families and with Victoria’s Muslim communities and communities around the world,” Premier Daniel Andrews said when moving the condolence motion. 

Mr Andrews said that as a state and as a nation, we have a real responsibility to extend our commitment to driving out the dark politics of division and calling out the crude and cruel discourse that threatens to undermine everything we have fought so hard to achieve.

“At a time like this, when it feels like the world is shrouded in paranoia and propaganda, it can be hard to imagine a way forward when there are those so driven by hatred, so perverted by extremism, and then those so willing to use cheap politics to further their own toxic ambitions. How in the context of that do we even begin to respond?

“At the same time we would be doing ourselves and the proud people across the Tasman a disservice if we saw the events of last Friday as solely a reflection of everything that is so awfully wrong with our world. Instead we should remember that in the wake of this terrible tragedy we saw countless examples of everything that is right.

“There is perhaps no greater example of that than those in our Muslim communities. These are communities that would have been totally forgiven—and indeed would have owed no apology or explanation—had they cancelled their events, closed their doors and held each other that little bit tighter in such a time of grief. Instead it was these same communities who defiantly, proudly and courageously refused to be intimidated by evil, who warmly welcomed everyone into their places of worship and who in opening their doors, opened hearts,” Mr Andrews said.

Leader of the Opposition Michael O’Brien said there can be few acts of greater evil than the massacre of innocent men, women and children at prayer, an act of both indescribable hatred and unutterable cowardice.

“This horrific act of terrorism was intended to set communities against each other. It will not succeed. That is why, echoing the words of Martin Luther King Jr, we respond with light and with love. We demonstrate to those who choose darkness and hate that they will not divide us; they only bring us closer. They will not weaken us; we will only become stronger,” Mr O’Brien said.

He praised the courage of those who stood up to the terrorist.

“While some discussed the terrorist who took the lives of others, we should celebrate people like Abdul Aziz, whose courage led him to pick up a credit card machine and throw it at the gunman and chase him into his car, saving countless lives at Linwood mosque,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We should honour those who did not survive, including people like Haji Daoud Nabi, who at Al Noor stepped directly in front of a bullet meant for another. The mosque at which 42 people were taken on that day is called Al Noor, which means ‘the light’. It is a place where the light of faith comes from the walls and from within, and its small, tight-knit congregation shares that light across the community.”

The speeches made by other Members of Parliament during the condolence motion can be read in the Hansard of 19 March 2019.


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