By Erbil Basay and Bahattin Gonultas
BERLIN (AA) - The imam of one of the mosques that came under a terror attack in New Zealand last month described the incident as a second 9/11.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Gamal Fouda of Al Noor mosque said: “I call the attacks in Christchurch second Sept. 11 [,2001]. It is going to be a turning point to change the world.”
At least 50 Muslim worshippers were massacred, with as many injured, in a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch on March 15.
Referring to state visits from Turkey in the wake of the attacks, Fouda said: “The first person, who came to [New Zealand] from overseas to show kindness and support and gave condolences to the community was Vice President of Turkey [Fuat Oktay] and Foreign Minister [Mevlut Cavusoglu].”
“And next day, I met with them at the hotel, next morning they came to families and they offered condolences and they called President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and President Erdogan talked to people and offered condolences. That was something people needed,” he said.
Fouda added that children would remember this tragedy forever.
“It was a big tragedy but I said the heart is broken but mind is not broken; we came back again quickly because we know this is not New Zealand."
- 'Terror has no religion'
With regards to an egg thrown at Australian Senator Fraser Anning after his anti-immigrant comments, Fouda said: "It was a blessed egg."
“Majority of Australians are very kind people,” he added.
Praising New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's stance after the attacks, he said: “Jacinda Ardern, PM of New Zealand gave a lesson and love to the world. She set a good example to the world, good example to nations and good example to people that this is leader.”
Fouda termed Ardern as “mother of the world, mother of peace, mother of love, mother of humanity, mother of kindness and mother of compassion".
He criticized those who did not call the man who carried out the attacks as “terrorist.”
“If he was a Muslim, believe it or not, even Muslim people would say he is a terrorist but when it happened by a non-Muslim person, some people tend not to say, terrorist. It is not proper for them because of political power and political agenda but in their hearts, we know that they know it is a terrorist attack.”
Following the attacks, he said people across the country supported the community.
“Some people leave the wallet, car key, bank cards. Community, restaurants offer free food to Muslims. I could not walk on the street like this, with my imam clothes. Everyone hugged me and everyone said 'we are with you',” Fouda said.
He recalled that terrorism has no religion, faith, language, and race, underlining the importance of media in resolving the problem.
“We have actually stop and think. Terrorism has no religion, no faith, has no language, has no color, has no race, has no God. So, we actually have to stop and think about it. A criminal should be labeled as a criminal. That’s it," Fouda said.
* Writing by Nilat Kar Onum