The Duke of Cambridge took part in a video call to reconnect with members of the Christchurch Muslim community he met last year in the wake of the Al-Noor and Linwood Mosque terrorist attacks.
During the call, Prince William, 37, spoke to imams and representatives of the Al-Noor and Linwood mosques, and the Canterbury Muslim Association, about how their community is doing 14 months after the attacks.
In April last year, the father of three visited New Zealand on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen to pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack on the mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 people during the Friday prayer on March 15, 2019.
The Duke met Imam Alani Lateef, Imam Gamal Fouda and Farid Ahmad, who all felt with him on today’s call.
Prince William, 37, said in a video call on Thursday to members of the Christchurch Muslim community who were the target of a shooting last year saying “I’m here to help.” Pictured, top row from left to right: Farid Ahmad, Imam Gamal Fouda and Imam Alani Lateef. Middle row from left to right: Dahabo Ali, Mohamed Jama, Dr Megan woods and Faisal Sayed.
This is because the shooter, Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 29, will be sentenced for pleading guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism.
The shooting was the deadliest in New Zealand’s modern history, and the government responded by banning most semi-automatic weapons.
Prince William spoke of grief and healing to Imam Alani Lateef and Imam Gamal Fouda of the mosques, community members including Farid Ahmad who lost his wife Husna in the attack, and representatives of the Canterbury Muslim Society.
He said, “As-Salam-u-Alaikum,” which means “peace be upon you,” before asking how the murders were still felt by the community today.
During his two-day visit to New Zealand last year, Prince William went to the Justice and Emergency Courts, where he met the police and the staff of the St. John’s ambulance, the emergency responders at the scene of the Christchurch terrorist attack.
The Duke of Cambridge shook hands with Imam Gamal Fouda of Masjid Al Noor when he arrived at the mosque in Christchurch last year
Community member Dahabo Ali told the duke that she knows some families that are “still in shock” and that raw emotions have re-emerged after the guilty plea.
When asked about the impact of the shootings on the younger generation, the Duke said, “The young people make Islamic identity normal, so Islamophobia is a thing of the past rather than something that keeps fighting every day.
People not only continue to feel safe, but their voices are heard and seen in New Zealand.
“I think we are heard and seen with everything that happened and things are changing.”
Prince William said to them, “I am really proud of all of you, the whole community and the New Zealand government for how you have all dealt with such cruelty.
The Duke of Cambridge met young members of the Muslim community of Christchurch on a two-day visit following the March 15 attack
William also met the family of five-year-old Alen Alsati and her father Wasseim, who were among the people injured in the attack and recovered at Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland
“You are a role model for how to negotiate something so tragic with such greatness and dignity.
“I just hope it’s been a year now and that the memorial of attacks will continue at some point that Covid-19 has been postponed and I just hope this brings you further healing.
“But I’m here to help in any way I can. If more needs to be done, don’t hesitate to get in touch. ‘
Muslim communities around the world are currently observing Ramadan – which began on April 23 and ends May 23 this year.
Prince William spoke to the community after Iftar – the sacrament breaking supper.
Faisal Sayed, general secretary of Linwood Islamic Center, told him that the community has “gathered” to provide food to families during “very unique Ramadan” and that imams have contacted their flocks through social media.