MP addresses NSW parliament on religious persecution

August 7, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In her address, Liberal MP Natalie Ward told parliament of the $69, 980 donated to the Christchurch Muslim community impacted by the March massacre by the NSW Jewish community.

Natalie Ward

From generation to generation there are few moments that make the world freeze. In New South Wales we pride ourselves on being a harmonious, multicultural society and as such we are usually fortunate enough to be far from danger when terror strikes around the world. Unfortunately, on 15 March this year that all changed with the Christchurch terror attacks in our sister, Commonwealth nation, and the home of our Anzac brothers, New Zealand. Community and religious groups around the world watched in horror as two mosques in Christchurch were struck, leaving 51 people dead.

A visit to your local place of worship—in this case, a mosque—suddenly becomes a nightmare. Fifty‑one men, women, children and families walked without fear into their mosque that day to pray. Now there are families out there who may never walk into their place of worship without fear again. At the tragic time of the attacks, people united across New Zealand and all over the world to stand with the Muslim community. In a moment of understanding, a gesture of goodwill and a symbol of unity, four months following the attack the Jewish community from Australia and New Zealand gathered in Christchurch to support the grieving Muslim community. They listened to the imams at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques as they recalled the horrific details of the 15 March massacre.

In late 2018 the Jewish community experienced a similar attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which left 11 Jewish congregants dead. It is the great injustice of our time that these hate crimes are not foreign to the Jewish or to the Muslim community. The response from the Islamic Centre of Pittsburgh was to form a coalition under the banner “Muslims Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue”. Together they raised US$180,000 for the families affected by the shooting. Communities stand together in solidarity during these times, as Mr Vic Alhadeff, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO, articulated:

The most practical way of advancing this most fundamental of ideals is to cast aside our differences where we can meaningfully support each other as members of a shared humanity …

As Mr Alhadeff spoke these words of support and unity, he presented a cheque for $69,980 to the Christchurch Muslim community, which was crowdfunded by the New South Wales Jewish community. He said:

We all want our loved ones to return home safely each day, without being abused or worse because of their race, religion, gender or sexual preference.

There is no replacing the loss of these lives, and nothing can ease the pain of this terrible injustice. A horrific event like this is not easy to rebuild from. However, these funds and the support they symbolise might assist those families impacted by the tragedy. Mr Alhadeff said:

Today we walk in the skin of the Muslim community of Christchurch.

Together, two religions that have suffered from the worst of humankind step up when tragedy strikes. Together they represent the best of humankind. Juliet Moses from the New Zealand Jewish Council said:

The Jewish community has experienced its own share of attacks against it, so we understand the pain that the Muslim community of Christchurch would be going through. Our hearts beat as one – we feel your pain.

This display of respect, unity and solidarity helps people and communities overcome hate. I thank the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff and everyone who donated to this crowd source fund. Whether it was $5 or $5,000, you have made a difference to the lives of people going through troubles that no-one ever expects to experience. You are truly the best of humankind, and we stand with you.


One Response to “MP addresses NSW parliament on religious persecution”
  1. Michael Burd says:

    Great Vic now we can pull down the bomb proof wall in Bondi , dismiss all the Armed guards out side our Jewish day schools , synagogues and communal centres .
    We will no longer require armed guards for visiting Israeli and Jewish speakers , athletes , entertainers and politicians

    Jewish community will no longer have to pay security levy’s for our schools and synagogues
    we will be able to disband our own Jewish security services .

    All these dollars saved will be available for our poorest in the Jewish community and Perhaps used to subsidise those that can’t afford Jewish day schools .

    Well done Vic I’m sure the Muslim community will take care of their anti Semitic extremists who pose the main threat to our community and we will live happy ever after .

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