Sharing grief but feeling support

Sharing their grief, and their gratitude for the public's support, in Queenstown are Queenstown Muslim Community trustees Mohammed Nadeem (left) and Ashiv Khan. Photo: Daisy Hudson
Sharing their grief, and their gratitude for the public's support, in Queenstown are Queenstown Muslim Community trustees Mohammed Nadeem (left) and Ashiv Khan. Photo: Daisy Hudson
The tragedy of Christchurch's terror attack has hit him harder than most, but Ashiv Khan still considers New Zealand his home.

The Queenstown Muslim Community trustee and Fijian ex-pat lost three of his friends in Friday's shooting, and his nephew was in a critical condition in hospital after being shot in the shoulder.

''He is needing our prayers that he can recover very well, and quickly,'' Mr Khan said.

''He's got a family, he's got a small kid to look after.''

As of yesterday, he was no longer critical, and was improving, Mr Khan said.

Since the attack, Mr Khan said the support from the public had been ''overwhelming''.

''As a community we are all positive, nothing will change.

''There is only one nutcase that has done it, and hopefully this will not happen again.''

Mr Khan, and fellow Queenstown Muslim Community trustee Mohammed Nadeem, attended the public vigil in Earnslaw Park on Monday evening.

Mr Nadeem said they had received phone calls of support from Queenstown police and the public.

''At the moment we feel very secure, the community, the council down here, they're very nice.

''We feel home, we feel safe.''

Amidst their grief there is also a glimmer of hope, as members of Queenstown's Muslim community prepare to finally secure their own place of worship.

Mr Khan said Queenstown had a Muslim population of about 45 to 50 people.

They have been searching for a property to turn into a mosque for about four years.

''Unfortunately, as you'll be aware, the costs of properties are so high, and we were looking for somewhere in town but we couldn't find it.''

Next week they are hoping to pay a deposit on a property in Douglas St, Frankton.

They will then be able to pray in their own space, rather than the church hall they have been using, he said.

Addressing the crowd at the vigil, Mr Khan said he hoped people would criticise racism and bigotry if they saw it.

''Let us get to know each other, ask questions, and understand each other, rather than making assumptions and judgements.''

He ended his speech with a quote from Martin Luther King jun: ''Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.''

 

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