Labor MP Ed Husic used Christchurch attack’s survivor Farid Ahmed’s Quran to sworn in the 46th federal parliament.
It is the fourth time Husic will be sworn in as the Member for Chifley and his most poignant, with the symbolism stretching between two countries so close they are more family than neighbours.
“The reason I asked for Farid’s permission to do this is because of what it will do – in its own small way – to reinforce the bonds between our countries based on a shared and steadfast commitment to unite in the face of those who want to split us apart,” he said.
Mr Husic had dinner with Mr Ahmed at his house in Christchurch last week, after visiting the Linwood Islamic Centre and the Al Noor Mosque where, in March, an Australian born far-right extremist allegedly unloaded his hate and massacred 51 people – among them, Farid’s 44-year old wife Husna.
When the attacks started, Husna helped women and children to safety. When she returned to the Al Noor mosque to try to help her husband who uses a wheelchair escape, she was shot in the back and killed.
Farid survived but bears no grudge. He told Mr Husic that he wants to travel to Australia and meet the family of the shooter to urge them that they should not bear any guilt or feel responsible for the atrocity.
Over dinner, he also thanked the Australians who have expressed their sorrow and support, including a letter from students at St John the Evangelist High School in Nowra. Mr Husic plans to visit the school to personally convey Farid’s thanks and his message of forgiveness.
Mr Husic said his time spent with Farid had been an “incredible moment in my life” and one “I was grateful to experience” and had asked if he could use Farid’s Koran for Tuesday’s swearing-in of Parliament.
He said he had joined the locals who were “in awe” of Farid’s ability to forgive.
“After the extraordinary pain of losing his wife in the way he did, it would’ve been easy to expect someone in Farid’s position to be overrun by anger and bitterness,” he said.
“But he did something that took enormous inner strength: he turned his back on hate, urged forgiveness and committed himself to do whatever he can to build stronger communities across faiths.
“I think we can all proudly stand with that spirit and purpose, it’s why I was so grateful for his blessing to use a copy of the Ahmeds’ Holy Koran for my swearing in.”
“Spending time with Farid, being able to see first-hand his determination to stop hate dividing people, is something that will stay with me forever.
News Credit: Sydney Morning Herald