‘I just felt sadness’ – UoB’s Islamic Society responds to the Christchurch mosque shootings
The society only recently held their inclusive Discover Islam Week
UoB's Islamic Society has responded to last Friday's Christchurch terrorist mosque shootings which left 50 confirmed dead.
Two mosques in the city of Christchurch were targeted by a man posting online under the name of Brenton Tarrant.
The abhorrent attacks were live-streamed by Tarrant, with distressing footage showing him firing indiscriminately at men, women, and children.
Tarrant, identified officially as Brenton Harris Tarrant, 28, appeared in court the next day and was charged with murder.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden was quick to respond and stated: "It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack."
Arden then goes on to describe how the attack "appears to have been well planned", and that four suspects "with extremist views" have been apprehended.
Back in Birmingham, a minute's silence was held on Friday outside the University's Guild of Students in order to remember the victims.
Abdullah Asif, current Treasurer of UoB ISOC, was also present and gave the following statement:
"As we're sure many of you here are aware, in the early hours of this morning 49 innocent people, including mothers, fathers and children were murdered during the Friday prayer.
"The Muslim community has tirelessly condemned such actions in the past and today is no exception. We can only pray that those who have lost their lives are granted the highest level of paradise. We also ask all of you to join us and pray for the families and loved ones that have been left behind in this dark hour.
"As Muslims, we condemn all acts of violence, regardless of race or religion. No innocent person should ever have to live in fear or experience anything like this.
"God says in the Qur'an about hurting innocents:
"'Whoever kills one soul it is as if he has killed the whole of humanity.'
"The terrorist attack has deeply saddened all of us. But it proves how essential it is that we strive to break down barriers, to understand people, to be tolerant, to combat racism, fascism and far right extremism.
"It is the only way we can move forward in this society. We the community, need to do more to engage and build bonds with others.
"The Islamic Society thanks all of you for attending and showing your solidarity for the lives that were lost today. We also give special thanks to the Guild of Students, University of Birmingham for standing with us all in the name of justice, tolerance and diversity.'
The Birmingham Tab also spoke personally with Hamzah, another committee member of UoB ISOC, who had this to say:
"It was the first thing I saw on my phone when I woke up. Simply, I just felt sadness, and at that point I hadn't even clicked on the article so I didn't know who did it. It just hurts, no other words for it.
"The Islamic Society just had Discover Islam Week, where we invite non-Muslims to eat with us, where we tackle misconceptions people may have about our faith, educate people about our beliefs, but we also try to understand where they come from. The fact that such a tragedy has happened so soon after that hurts, but it's also testament to how important this work is.
"People need to find ways to connect with others who may hold different beliefs to them, who have different world views. Everyone can do it and everyone should do it."
UoB ISOC would also like to ensure that students affected by the attack know that there are welfare services available at the university and at the multi-faith chaplaincy. The society will also be there to provide support wherever possible.
There is currently a donation page set up for the victim's families.