Islam says that all guests should be welcomed and treated with kindness and respect – Muslim or non-Muslim. Haji Daoud Nabi was at Christchurch’s Al Noor Mosque door and welcomed the shooter in to worship last Friday.
“Welcome brother,” were the last words he said before he was shot. I have heard and read so many stories about this tragedy that have torn at my heart but, it’s this scenario which keeps running and rerunning in my head. And , it’s been made even more poignant for me after seeing a photograph of Haji , a kindly elderly Afghan man with a beautiful little girl who looks so like our own grandchild.
I am a Kiwi who has been part of an Egyptian Muslim family for 45 years. Although I have never converted to Islam, I feel a great affinity with the faith in its moderate shape. To me it’s the hospitality, kindness and in many cases (not all, of course) the open and non-judgmental nature of the Muslims I have encountered over the years.
When I went to live in Cairo, marrying an Egyptian Muslim back in 1974, I faced lots of opposition from my family and friends. The small farming community I grew up in apparently went into mourning for the local girl who had been lost to white slavery.
I did suffer severe cultural shock when I arrived there, but it was not just my marriage that kept me there for four years , but the amazing kindness of the Egyptian people – and particularly my in-laws.
It’s the kindness and the hospitality at the core of Islam, which has always touched me. I know I could always turn up to the home of any very distant relation or a Muslim business associate and be ushered in with warmth – and always food.
Friday 15 March 2019 changed life for all New Zealanders. From the tattooed labourer who ran to the rescue of a victim and then wept for the loss, to the strength of our television crew on the ground that day and the humanity shown by our Prime Minister – we’ve all been profoundly affected.
My husband, Adel, has wept for the atrocity of the senseless killings and all those who are left to grieve. All those lost dreams in the supposed safe haven. He has lived here since 1978 and says the compassion shown by Kiwis since the attack has made him love this country even more!
The reaction by New Zealanders has been so inspirational. Kiwis are a down-to-earth and generous race. I’m sure they will continue to walk with the local Muslim community. It’s a simple smile or “salaam” that can help lift a very heavy heart in these sad days and so please reach out.