A WEEK on from the Christchurch terror attack, Perth Imam Kamran Tahir believes solidarity between all cultures and religions will always overcome the attempt to divide communities.
Imam Tahir, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Cockburn, was preparing for his sermon last Friday when he received news New Zealand mosques had been the target of terrorism.
“I don’t think I have the words to describe the pain that went through me,” he said.
“Innocent people were slaughtered and any places of worship, whether it be a mosque, synagogue or church, are considered sanctuaries of peace – it broke my heart.”
“That night (at the mosque) I felt this dark cloud.
“It’s that feeling where nobody says anything but that says everything – there was a lot of pain and a lot of fear.”
Imam Tahir said that night he used his message of “love for all and hatred for none” as the driving force behind his sermon using the themes of solidarity and unity.
“It really hit me afterwards and I asked myself ‘is it because it’s a mosque that the pain is more?’
“I sat there for a good hour but the answer was absolutely no – because the pain was the same pain I felt for Manchester, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma and now Christchurch.
“We need to understand terrorism has no religion.
“The motive behind these people committing these actions is only one and that is to divide but all it does is the opposite and we are stronger and united.”
Holding a vigil at the mosque on Sunday March 17, Imam Tahir said he had been overwhelmed with the response he received from all members of the community.
“These tragedies only strengthen us and bring us closer in solidarity regardless of colour, faith or creed,” he said.
“It was a beautiful evening that went on to show that you can try as hard as you want but you will never succeed in dividing us.”
He paid tribute to New Zealand Prime Minister adding world leaders could learn a lot from her.
The father of two, who is the brains behind the “I’m a Muslim ask me anything” and “Coffee and Islam” campaigns, also encouraged people – especially during Harmony Week – to learn about other cultures and celebrate diversity.
“I think to celebrate each other’s cultures is what truly brings people together,” he said.
“It is human nature to be afraid because of the unknown and Harmony Week is a great platform to learn about other cultures.
“When you come to know about something it takes it (fear) away.
“People are trying to divide us but now is the time to stay together – we truly need to preach the message of love for all and hatred for none.”