‘Suffering of humans is a universal pain’: N.B. Muslims mourn New Zealand mosque shooting victims
It happened on the other side of the world, but Muslims in New Brunswick and the community as a whole are mourning the loss of life in New Zealand.
The tragedy was top of mind during Friday prayers at a mosque in Saint John. Muslim community elder Abid Sheikh could not contain his emotions as he spoke to those in attendance.
An immigrant-hating white nationalist killed at least 49 people as they gathered for weekly prayers in Christchurch. Another 48 people suffered gunshot wounds in the attacks.
Sheikh says support from the local community has been wonderful, but says the emotional pain of loss knows no boundaries.
“Suffering of humans is a universal pain,” said Sheikh.
“Your pain is as human as is my pain. Colour, race, ethnicity has no connection with that.”
His message to the several dozen people included a reminder of Islamic teaching which calls for composure, patience and perseverance, adding a sense of peace can still be found amid such sorrow.
“Yes, physically the lives are lost and wasted away, but there is hope for eternal peace for them in the hereafter,” Sheikh added.
WATCH: 49 killed in Christchurch mosque shootings
For the president of the Muslim Association of New Brunswick the fact the shootings took place in a mosque is especially troubling.
“This is the peaceful place that everybody leaves their job, leaves their kids and family and go in the place to connect themselves with God,” said Abdul Rahimi.
Rahimi says no place is immune to this sort of act of terror.
“It could happen everywhere but it happened in a small community inside a mosque,” he said. “That’s why everybody’s sad.”
In Greater Saint John it was one community reaching out across the globe to another in mourning.
“Particularly the surviving members who need our special prayers,” said Sheikh.
“That God bless them and give them the strength to bear this loss.” Rahimi added “(Local Muslims) are upset. They cannot control their emotions. They are praying for them. That’s all I can say.”
A Saint John police squad car was stationed in the mosque parking lot during the Friday afternoon prayer period.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.