‘You are not alone in your sorrow’
Coming together to remember

‘You are not alone in your sorrow’

Commemorating the third anniversary of the massacre at two mosques in Christchurch.

From left: Imam Alaa Elzokm, David Southwick, Kate Thwaites, Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann and Dvir Abramovich.
From left: Imam Alaa Elzokm, David Southwick, Kate Thwaites, Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann and Dvir Abramovich.

JEWISH community leaders have joined political figures to commemorate the third anniversary of the horrific massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

On March 15, 2019, Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant opened fire at two Christchurch mosques. After the shootings at the Al Noor mosque, he attacked the Linwood Islamic Centre. Altogether 51 people were murdered, and 40 were injured in the attacks.

In 2020, Tarrant, a white supremacist, was sentenced in New Zealand to life imprisonment without parole, the first time a New Zealand court had imposed a sentence of that magnitude, and New Zealand’s first conviction for terrorism.

The attacks caused shockwaves around the world and were widely condemned. They were the deadliest in modern New Zealand history and reportedly the worst crime ever committed by an Australian national.

To show the Australian Jewish community’s support and solidarity, Dvir Abramovich, chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission and Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann of the Ark Centre visited the Elsedeaq Heidelberg Mosque in Heidelberg Heights.

They were joined by Victorian Deputy Liberal leader and Caulfield MP David Southwick and federal MP for Jajajaga Kate Thwaites.

In a joint statement, Abramovich and Rabbi Kaltmann reflected on the sombre anniversary.

“We stand heartbroken in solidarity and in bonds of friendship with the Muslim community here and in New Zealand and say, ‘You are not alone in your sorrow.’

“Filled with grief, we remember the 51 victims murdered in their mosques by an evil man and pray for the bereaved families still scarred by this trauma and hope that our support offers them some measure of solace. 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.

“That the gunman killed parishioners in a house of worship means that no religion is safe from such assaults. We undertake to lock arms with the Muslim community in the collective battle against the dangerous agenda of neo-Nazism and for the right of every Australian to worship safely.”

Southwick told The AJN, “It is important to stand united against hate, particularly when we have seen an escalation of attacks against Muslims and Jews in recent years.

“The tragic events in Christchurch must never be forgotten, and it is for this reason that every year I try to visit a mosque with Jewish community representatives to send a message of hope and pay my respects to our Muslim fellow Victorians and friends.”

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