A moving and dignified ceremony was held in Sydney on Sunday night, March 15 – a year since the massacre at two Christchurch mosques which left 51 members of the New Zealand Muslim community, including a three-year-old toddler, dead and scores injured.
Christchurch, one year on
Organised by and hosted at the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Jewish community was represented at the ceremony by NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff, who last year led a crowdfunding operation for the families of those impacted by the massacre, and then flew to Christchurch to pay his respects at the two mosques. Working with New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman, he presented a cheque for $69,780.91 to Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, who chairs the Christchurch Foundation, which is managing the funds. New Zealand Muslim leaders attended the presentation ceremony. The funds were contributed by members of the NSW Jewish community.
“Twelve months ago, the NSW Jewish community, along with all well-meaning people, was shocked to hear of the massacre of 51 people in Christchurch,” Alhadeff told participants at the anniversary ceremony on Sunday night. “Jewish people understand full-well the impact of such atrocities. Tragically, we have stood in those shoes all too often. Today we stand with our Muslim friends and colleagues in condemning all bigotry and barbarity and in striving for respect for all in the name of diversity and humanity.”
The anniversary ceremony featured addresses by New Zealand Consul-General Bill Dobbie, Imam Ibrahim Dadoun and Ramia Abdo of the Australian National Imams Council and Paul McCarthy of the Australian National Maritime Museum, who chaired the event.
The ceremony concluded with the names of the 51 screened onto the roof of the museum, along with New Zealand’s emblem, the silver fern. Also in attendance were representatives of Multicultural NSW, Settlement Services International, the Affinity Intercultural Foundation and SBS.
By Vic Alhadeff
Chief Executive Officer
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies