1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 270

Monday, March 18, 2019
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Christchurch and Utrecht Tragedies

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Bismillah hir-Rahman nir Raheem, in the name of Allah, the most gracious and merciful, honourable senators, I stand before you, together with Senators Ravalia, Ataullahjan and all my colleagues in the Parliament of Canada, to send our deepest condolences to grieving families of the victims in the New Zealand mosque attacks, to our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world, and the victims of the tram attack in Utrecht, Netherlands.

My heart is breaking for the families and friends who have lost loved ones in this senseless terrorist attack. Fifty innocent worshippers were murdered during Friday prayer. This planned attack, cruelly live-streamed by the gunman, will affect thousands of Muslims and New Zealanders forever. These innocent people were killed in an attack fuelled by racism and religious prejudice.

Honourable senators, I want to share with you the words of a man literally looking in the mouth of a gun. The first Muslim man to die, his final words were: “Hello, brother.” These words were uttered by a man who symbolized Islam. He had a rifle pointed at him by a man with clear intentions to kill him, and how did he respond? With anger? With aggression? No, with the most gentle and sincere greeting of “Hello, brother.”

This man’s final act was a sincere, courageous and warm way to stop the violence instead of fuelling it.

Honourable senators, I grew up in jamatkhanas and mosques, and my community is my family. I can tell you that Islam is a religion of peace. It is a religion that promotes tolerance and acceptance, a religion that teaches us that it is through good deeds that the soul finds true happiness. This indignity has been perpetrated not just against those who have suffered at the hands of the attacker but against all of mankind. That is why I know we all will not retreat and hide in fear. We will not be defeated, nor will we let this weaken us.

We Canadians are a strong and resilient community.

Honourable senators, I have faith that, as we did after the Quebec City mosque massacre, we Canadians will come together and support New Zealanders through their grief. As Canadians, we are invincible.

I kindly ask my fellow Canadians to do everything we can to push back against the hate that so easily takes hold and to support the families that mourn the victims of the terrorist attack.

Honourable senators, we are all stronger together than these acts of hatred.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!