[WATCH] Updated | Victims of New Zealand terror attack remembered at Paola mosque

Imam Mohammad Elsadi: 'Young people have to be educated to love people of different religions and races'

A gathering took place Wednesday evening at Paola mosque in honour of the victims of the New Zealand terror attack
A gathering took place Wednesday evening at Paola mosque in honour of the victims of the New Zealand terror attack

A vigil was held on Thursday at the Paola mosque in honour of the victims of the Christchurch attacks in New Zealand last week.

People gathered in quiet contemplation, as the names of each of the 50 persons who lost their lives in the attack, and some details of their background and life in New Zealand, were read out.

The gathering was attended by a number of politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo, Nationalist Party deputy leaders David Agius and Robert Arrigo, Democratic Party leader Godfrey Farrugia and Alternattiva Demokratika leader Carmel Cacopardo.

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne

Fearne gave a brief address, noting how the government had condemned the brutal attack, and had shown its full solidarity with those who lost their lives.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Malta Alessandro D'Errico and Fr Dionysius Mintoff were also in attendance.

In comments to MaltaToday before the start of the vigil, Imam Mohammad Elsadi from the Islamic Centre in Malta said the terror attack, which he said was against all humanity and all religion, showed that terrorism has no religion or borders.

He said people had to gather together and be united to face the terrorism problem and to show they were against all extremism.

"This tragic event turned our attention to youth, and we have to educate them to respect and love people of different religions and races, so as to avoid such tragic events in the future," the Imam said.

He went on to thank all those who show solidarity with the Muslim community, and commended Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who he said was the first to condemn the act of terrorism.

"The Prime Minister recognised what happened [in New Zealand] as a terrorist act and he showed solidarity with the Muslim community, the relatives of the victims and the people of New Zealand."

The gathering will give a greater opportunity for politicians, clergy, the media and the public to have a place and time to express their sympathies with the Muslim community in Malta and in New Zealand, Elsadi highlighted.

"We appreciate highly and admire the attitude of the New Zealand government and especially the Prime Minister, who showed their solidarity with Muslims," he added.

"The New Zealand Prime Minister showed leadership when she said that Muslim 'are us', and the terrorist is 'not one of us'... This great attitude is a lesson to all politicians on how to act to create more respect to with a view towards increasing harmony and stability in different societies."

Fifty Muslim worshippers were killed and 40 others injured when a Christian extremist went on a shooting rampage at two mosques in Christchurch.

A 28-year-old Australian man, Brenton Tarrant, was arrested after the attacks and has been charged with one count of murder. He is expected to face more charges when he next appears in court on 5 April.

The terrorist attack shocked the nation of 4.5 million people, believed to have been safe from global terrorist attacks.

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