Kia kaha, kia kotahi ra. As-salaam alaikum. Our strength is our unity. Peace be unto you.

This week will be a difficult week for many in New Zealand, especially our Muslim communities, as the terrorist who carried out last year’s attacks is sentenced. ANZASW would like to offer our support and solidarity as we stand with Aotearoa’s Muslim community. The attacks tragically killed 51 people as they prayed, and wounded many others both emotionally and physically.

Despite the devastation and horror of the attacks, the response from the Muslim community has been one of great humanity and compassion that has moved the nation and world.

Radiya Ali, a Muslim and social worker at Oranga Tamariki, reflected on this week and what it meant to her. She explained that “healing from trauma is a process and it takes time. Yesterday was hard as it retriggered a lot of the trauma that has been experienced. Everyone will process this trauma differently. For some the sentencing will provide the closure they need, I believe that with hardship comes ease and this for some will allow them to slip into the ease of their healing.”

Radiya flew to Christchurch following the attacks, arriving less than 24 hours later. During her time in Christchurch she helped assist schools in supporting affected families as well as providing support to her own family who lives in Christchurch.

Radiya highlighted how incredible those around her had been in supporting her through this  difficult period, she wanted to express how much the support and aroha expressed by her friends, managers, colleagues, and wider society meant to her. She explained that receiving this support and being given the time and space needed to process her trauma had been so important to her healing process.

In March this year, Muslim leaders extended the Christchurch Invitation to all communities to come together in working towards a future that fosters belonging and inclusivity. The invitation is a reminder of the outpouring of support and love that followed the terrible events of March 15 2019. It is an opportunity and responsibility to come together in a global effort for peace and to promote peace in all its forms. It is a promise and commitment to stand together, to make clear that there is no tolerance of, or room for hate in Aotearoa. While as a nation we have a long way to go in keeping this promise, together in unity we can make a meaningful difference to the future.

Again, ANZASW extends our thoughts and aroha to those effected by the attacks and encourages our members to reflect on the message of peace and inclusivity.