Newtown unites against hate
March 26, 2019
New Zealanders of all ethnicities and faith gathered in Newtown for a community dinner as a mark of unity following the Christchurch mosque attacks.
Halal, vegan, and vegetarian food were brought by members of the community to Newtown School on March 21, while circus activities and face painting were provided to entertain kids.
Muslim Wellington community leader Sheikh Khaled could feel the warmth and friendliness, saying “this is the New Zealand we know. This is the New Zealand that we are committed to keeping strong.
“The one who perpetrated this attack aimed to divide us, but no way. We will be even more united. We will be even more stronger. We will get together and build bridges between every people of faith and no faith.
“This event will only bring us closer, will only make us stronger, will only make us an example for the world to follow.”
Khaled wanted to thank New Zealand, saying “the message is plain and simple, we love you, and we are praying for you non-stop. We pray for your happiness, we pray for your success, we pray for your family to be protected.
“New Zealand. We love you.”
St Thomas Church Reverend Mark Johnson said the reason they chose to have a dinner was because“it lets everybody know that everybody belongs around the table. There’s something beautiful about eating together. It connects hearts.”
Newtown community centre co-ordinator Eryn Gribble said the dinner was a collaboration between the entire Newtown community, including St Thomas’ Church, Wellington Circus Hub, People’s Coffee, and many other organisations.
Gribble said they hoped to work with the Muslim community to support them after the event that occurred in Christchurch. “Newtown is so many Muslims home, and we want them to know that it is their home, and that they’re safe here, that they are loved.”