One of the nation’s leading Muslim clerics has given a passionate speech in Darwin, calling for unity and to reject ignorance in the wake of Friday’s mosque massacre of 50 worshippers in Christchurch.
- Imam Adame Konda, from the Australian National Imams Council, has called out terrorism and for unity in a powerful speech in Darwin
- Imam Konda praised the governments of both Australia and New Zealand in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack
- Young Muslim leaders persevered with hosting a long-planned event about Islam and education despite the horrific Christchurch massacre
It was meant to be a speech about education and Islam, but when Imam Adama Konda took to the stage at Charles Darwin University (CDU) last night, his words suddenly took on new meaning.
To a hall packed with Muslim and non-Muslim Darwinites, the nationally known Canberra-based Imam gave a stirring tribute to the victims of the New Zealand massacre and decried the Australian accused of the crime as a “cowardly, spineless killer”.
“The hate he wanted to spread turned down the melodies of love and unity,” the Imam said.
“Together we say, this is wrong. Together we say, this is terrorism.
“Innocent lives have been aborted who really wanted to live.
“This person did not realise that he caused some children to go back home from their school, and they will have no more father or mother.”
He called on the audience to embrace the spirit of peace and equality, and said what happened will remain “emotionally scarred in our hearts”.
Imam praises governments as ‘providing freedom’
Imam Adama praised the work of both the Australian and New Zealand governments in the wake of horrific attack: the worst ever on New Zealand soil.
“We want to live in peace,” he said.
“The government is doing its best for everyone to live in a place where people have no chance to fight one another, in a place you cannot see a religious group attacking another group,” he said.
“We have to give credit where credit is due, and a government that is providing freedom to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that’s what government is formed for.”
Muslim Student Society perseveres with event
The Burkina Faso-born Imam’s revised speech was part of a program organised weeks ago by the CDU Muslim Student Society, as a platform for academics and Muslim leaders to share their thoughts on Islam and education.
But the took on forceful new meaning in the Christchurch attack’s aftermath.
Fahad Khan, president of the CDU Muslim Student Society, decided that “the [CDU] event has to go through regardless of what happened, we have to continue doing our part”.
“This event has to go through because it’s actions that matter, it’s not words,” Mr Khan said.
“We have to stand up and say, ‘we have to make a change’.”
Administrator’s heartfelt tribute
The event was also attended by a number of dignitaries including Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison and the Northern Territory’s representative to Queen Elizabeth, Administrator Vicki O’Halloran.
Ms O’Halloran offered her condolences to the victims in Christchurch and also paid tribute to the young Muslim members of the CDU society for rallying together to persevere with the Darwin event.
“This event is happening because we have young Muslims here … who come together an appreciate the importance of the constant sharing of knowledge — that can never be underrated,” she said.
“Let’s pray and unite in the spirit of peace, and in the spirit of the greatest respect for equality, and let’s remember as we stand together and we unite, it always wins out.
“Humanity will always prevail when we stand together and live in a mutually respectful society.”
Mosque flooded with flowers and cards
The tragedy has hit home in the Territory with hundreds of people coming in waves to pay their respects at Darwin’s Mosque in Wanguri throughout the weekend.
Community members flooded the mosque with flowers and cards as a moving sign of solidarity.
Darwin’s 1,500-strong Muslim population have been reeling from the events in New Zealand but also moved by the outpouring of sympathy and support they’ve received.
NT Islamic Society’s Muhammad Waqas said the sympathy showed “we are part of the Australian family”.
“I have no words actually right for the incident and to share my grief actually, but yes, there is sadness amongst the community but at the same time we know these are few people and we won’t buy their message of hatred or violence,” he said.
One youngster who came with his father to pay tribute at the mosque summed up the feelings of the thousands grieving across the globe: “I think it’s sad those kids had to die at a young age and they never asked for any of this to happen to them”.
The Islamic Society will hold a public vigil tonight at 6pm at the Wanguri mosque, and has welcomed the public to attend and pay their respects.