Albany imam prays for friend in attack
An Albany imam says he is still grieving for an injured friend caught up in last week’s Christchurch mosque shootings.
Albany Muslim community spokesman Ihsaan Bulbulia said the massacre which has so far claimed 50 lives and injured 50 others had deeply affected him and his community.
Mr Bulbulia said his friend, who was shot during the terror attack, had spent six weeks working in Albany last year.
He tried to contact him when he heard about the shooting because he often prays at one of the mosques targeted.
“I sent him a message and tried ringing him but got no reply,” he said.
“We then got in touch with his family on Friday evening and heard the whole story then.
“It hasn’t been good news for us all this weekend.”
Mr Bulbulia said his friend had survived the “cowardly” attack by alleged mass murderer Brenton Tarrant and was now recovering in Christchurch Hospital.
Mr Bulbulia’s wife Zeenat said hearing a family friend had been injured in the attack had made the news even harder for her to digest.
“It makes you realise that it could happen to anyone at any point in time,” she said. “We’re very fortunate here and maybe we took it for granted because we never really have any problems in Australia and in Albany.”
The Bulbulias said they had received warm gestures and support from the community since the attack.
“People have come past the musalla to drop some flowers,” Mr Bulbulia said. “Albany police had also rang us and expressed their condolences.
“They were also here on Friday to patrol during our prayers.”
Mr Bulbulia said he had been approached by a university student on the street with condolences for the city’s Muslim community.
“Everyone around the world is really affected by this deeply, even though many of them are not religious in any way,” he said. “We have been treated well here and we’re very grateful.”
Mr and Mrs Bulbulia said they wanted Albany’s Muslim community to stand together to oppose hatred and violence.
“There are a lot of people who still link extremism and terrorism into the same basket with Islam,” Mr Bulbulia said.
“We just need more people to have better understanding of each other’s differences. At the end of the day we are all humans. We just need to stand together to end this circle of hate.”
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