Honour the victims of Christchurch. Stand together against anti-Muslim violence.

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One year ago, my life changed forever. My father was one of 51 people killed in the terror attacks in Christchurch. Now, one year later, I see more anti-Muslim violence around the world. That’s why I am calling on the prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia to mark the Christchurch terror attack anniversary by denouncing anti-Muslim violence.

My father Ali considered New Zealand his home. He truly believed it was where his children could grow up in safety, pursue equal opportunities and be respected for who they are. And yet, it's difficult to imagine that after all the love and the trust he gave to this country, my dad was going to be killed, in his place of worship, at the hands of a white supremacist raised on an ideology of hatred.

I was travelling to Palestine to visit dad's family for the first time when the attacks happened. What followed was a panicked 24 hours trying desperately to track down my father, as we learned that more and more of our small, tight-knit Muslim community had also been killed by the far-right terrorist.  Eventually, I received a call from a friend who confirmed what I already knew in my heart to be true - my father, Ali, was gone. I immediately called my mother, thinking she too had heard the news. But instead, I had to tell my mother that he wasn’t coming home.

One year later I am still asking, why did it happen? New Zealand prides itself on being a tolerant, multicultural nation. We pride ourselves on not being a racist society yet despite this, the atrocities of March 15 were allowed to happen and the ripples of that continue a year on. I know many Australians feel the same way, and struggle to understand how the far-right terrorist could have grown up there and been turned to hate as he did. Hopefully, this is a chance for us, as New Zealanders and Australians, to look at the bigger picture and to really examine who we are.

I would really like us to talk about the underlying racism that’s happening in our countries, and how it forms part of a global wave of violence against Muslim people. Right now, anti-Muslim violence is sweeping through Delhi, where dozens of people have been killed. China is detaining and torturing up to one million Uyghur Muslims in camps. And splashed across local media any day of the week, you will find attacks of Muslim communities in Australia and New Zealand.

All of this hate and ignorance is connected. That’s why I am calling on the Prime Ministers of our two countries to mark the Christchurch terror attack anniversary, the anniversary of my Father’s death, to denounce the growing wave of anti-Muslim violence around the world.

If we have not learned, one year on, then I am afraid we will never learn. And those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Please, Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison: denounce anti-Muslim violence and do all you can to prevent another family from being torn apart by hatred.