Christchurch Mosques Attack

19 March, 2019

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (14:16): I move:

That this council—

(a) expresses its deepest sorrow and abhorrence at the senseless killing of innocent men, women and children in the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch on Friday 15 March 2019;

(b) mourns the tragic loss of life, and hopes for a full recovery of those injured;

(c) expresses its deepest sympathy to the families and friends of all those who are affected by this appalling event;

(d) stands in solidarity with the people of Christchurch—Adelaide's sister city—New Zealand, and South Australia's Muslim community;

(e) condemns terrorism and extremism in all its forms; and

(f) reaffirms its commitment to an inclusive and harmonious multicultural society.

The Hon. J.S. LEE (14:44): The act of evil that unfolded in Christchurch has shocked the world. The communities in New Zealand and in South Australia are still struggling to accept the loss of innocent lives from the horrific shootings at the two mosques in Christchurch. The shooting of people while they were acting in good faith, praying in their mosque, was an act of pure evil. It was a deliberate attack on all peace-loving people, and it was a merciless attack on humanity. We must all stand up to condemn this horrible form of racism and terrorism.

Today, both houses of parliament are speaking out on this motion to express our deepest condolences to families, friends and communities who are deeply affected and devastated by the attacks.

New Zealand is a country closely aligned to the same values as Australia. It is a country that embraces people from diverse backgrounds regardless of their heritage, ethnicity or religion. We live in a society that is open, generous and respectful of all people, and these fundamental values must be preserved and protected in order for every one of us to have the opportunity to live a fulfilling life.

Many honourable members may be aware that I was born in Malaysia and lived in an area surrounded by mosques as a child and as a young teenager. Some of my closest friends and people I love are Muslims. The news of such a horrific event made me sad, it made me angry and it made me sick to learn that so many caring and loving people of Islamic faith—our brothers and sisters in New Zealand—have lost their lives due to a heartless act of violence against humanity.

The devastating act of violence which happened in Christchurch should be confronted and condemned in every way. When an act of evil tries to divide our society with hatred, fear and confusion we must stand firm and be united. We must be more resolved and better prepared to find ways to safeguard our values to live in an inclusive and harmonious society.

Many of us attended the community vigil on Sunday at the mosque on Marion Road. Guests included His Excellency the Governor, the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition and many MPs and representatives from federal, state and local government. We expressed our deepest sympathy by standing in solidarity with the Muslim community in New Zealand and in South Australia. We stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart to pledge our love and support. We grieve with them and we feel their pain and suffering. May all the departed souls rest in peace. We join the Muslim community in prayer and mourn the tragic loss of life, and we send our thoughts to those who are injured for their full recovery.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude and thank religious leaders: president Ahmed Zreika, Dr Waleed Alkhazrajy, Houssam Abiad, Sahar Shahin and the organising committee and volunteers of the Islamic Society of South Australia, for their strong leadership and compassionate service and for responding quickly by bringing together members of the Muslim community of South Australia as well as leaders of all persuasions, including members from other faiths and those of no faith, for their moving and heartfelt community vigil.

I also want to thank other religious organisations, mosques, churches and temples for holding vigils to pay respect and honour the victims in Christchurch. Thank you to those caring individuals and groups from our compassionate community who reached out to the Muslim community across New Zealand and South Australia with your expressions of love through messages and flowers during this difficult time.

I join the Premier and all members of parliament to reaffirm our commitment to an inclusive and harmonious multicultural society. We must do everything we can to eliminate racism and prejudice, and condemn every form of terrorism and extremism. It is through our words, through our actions and through our deeds that we can collectively make our world a safer and better place to live.