In the wake of the horrific terrorist attack that occurred in Christchurch last Thursday, Hobart’s Franklin Square held a vigil on Sunday to pay tribute to the victims and their families.
The devastating attack which killed 50 people and injured dozens more at two mosques in Christchurch shocked the world, and cities have banded together to hold vigils to mourn the lives lost.
The chairman of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania, Waqas Durrani, gave a short speech and urged the Hobart community to support each other now more than ever.
“Terrorism does not have any religion,” says Durrani. “We really appreciate the support that we’ve seen today outside the Warrick St mosque where there has been an outpouring of cards and flowers.”
Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds also spoke, and expressed that she was concerned by the way that Muslim Australians have been demonized and marginalised in recent years.
“We are here together to say that there is no place in Hobart for hatred of people because of race, religion, ethnicity or skin colour. We want Hobart to be a city of peace and harmony that people from all over the world can call home”.
Isam Sabri, the leader of the Hobart Muslim community, also gave a speech.
“Islam is a religion of peace. We are a peaceful people. We are not terrorists. We are not murderers.”
Sabri, however, also urged the community to look at the more positive side of these terrible events, and to leave it up to Allah to choose when we die.
“I said to my wife, I’d be happy to be one of the murdered … I could be offering my sermon on the lectern and if somebody shoots me, I’d be quite happy … I’ve got no choice afterall, that is life”.
In Islam, death is predestined, and is not seen as the termination of life, but rather the continuation of life in another form.
Those attending in solidarity were also encouraged to come forward to the table and write messages of condolences and peace, which will be sent on to Christchurch.
Sabri also thanked everyone who came to support the Muslim community.
Before the vigil, a sermon was held in Hobart’s mosque on Warrick St, where both the Muslim community and others wishing to show their support were encouraged to attend.
Many flowers, posters, candles and cards had already been placed in front of the mosque in the days prior. During the sermon, Sabri prayed for Allah to “ease the pain and suffering of Muslims everywhere in the world”.
The event in Franklin Square was organised by the Multicultural Council of Tasmania with support from the City of Hobart and Tasmania Welcomes Diversity.