TO mark the second anniversary of the New Zealand mosques massacre on Monday, Jewish leaders met with Muslim clerics to demonstrate the community’s solidarity.
Fifty-one people were killed and dozens more wounded when Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant went on a shooting rampage at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch on March 15, 2019.
To show the Jewish community’s support, Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, and Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, president of the Rabbinical Association of Australasia, visited the Virgin Mary Mosque in Hoppers Crossing.
The two met with Sheikh Abdullah Hawari, the imam of the mosque, his son Bakr Hawari, as well as Imam Saeed Warsama Bulhan from Truganina.
Reflecting on the occasion, Abramovich and Rabbi Glasman said, “We stand heartbroken in solidarity and in bonds of friendship with the Muslim community here and in NZ and say, ‘You are not alone in your sorrow.'”
Both leaders sent their prayers to the bereaved families of the victims, hoping that their support offers solace, and acknowledging that, “This senseless crime, an act of blind hatred that will be forever seared in our memory, was an attack on us all because those innocent souls were our brothers and sisters.”
They added, “We pledge to work with the Muslim community in the shared fight against the ideology of white supremacism and for the right of people of any faith to worship peacefully.”
Meanwhile, president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) Lesli Berger paid tribute to the victims online, stating, “Our thoughts go to the families of the 51 people whose lives were cut short in this tragedy.”
He also reposted JBOD’s statement from 2019 following the massacre. Praying for an end to “racism, bigotry and terrorism”, it read, “The massacre occurred at a time when people were at their most vulnerable – at prayer in a house of worship – and all humanity is profoundly the poorer today. We remember the attacks on the mosque in Quebec, on the synagogue in Pittsburgh, on the church in Charleston. An attack on one faith attacks us all.”
Sheikh Hawari told The AJN, “To know that leaders of the Jewish community feel our pain and are here to support us during this difficult occasion is very important to us. We thank Dr Abramovich and Rabbi Glasman for visiting our mosque today, for their friendship and comforting words.
“We are committed to building bridges of trust and hope between the two communities.”