'Love, compassion and kindness' the only way to conquer hate
THE senseless mass murder of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch on Friday has had an unintended consequence for the Australian gun man Brenton Tarrant - people across the world are now uniting in solidarity like never before.
Over the weekend, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga expressed her sorrow at the tragedy and reached out to offer her support to the Islamic Society of CQ (ISCQ), encouraging other locals to do the same.
ISCQ President Riaz Ahmed said they had been overwhelmed by the outpouring of condolences, and positive support they had received from CQ community over the weekend.
"We are obviously grieving about the horrific loss of life and we do send our condolences and most heartfelt prayers to the victims of these despicable acts," Mr Ahmed said.
"It's been shocking but the support that we've had from the community has been amazing, from the political leaders, and the general community as well.
"We've had a lot of people come in and drop flowers at our mosque, and cards, which is just a great gesture."
Mr Ahmed estimated they had received hundreds of bouquets, cards and emails - not one of them was negative.
"The only way that communities can respond to hate is to come together in love, compassion and kindness," he said.
"We are all Australians, we are a part of this community and we are one, and that's the message that we are basically getting."
Seeking to continue the collective healing process for the community, Mr Ahmed revealed plans to host a special interfaith prayer meeting at the Rockhampton Mosque on Friday evening, with other religious organisations, local political leaders, and members of the public encouraged to attend.
The Morning Bulletin approached CQ's local politicians to see if they would be in attendance.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said she had felt such sorrow at this event and was proud of the locals who had reached out in support of ISCQ.
"We are at our best when the chips are down. I think the idea of a Friday vigil is a good one and I will do what I can to make sure I am there," Ms Landry said.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said he had already met with Mr Ahmed and offered his condolences on the absolutely tragic event.
He was supportive of the event and seeing the community coming together and while he had prior commitments, he would be doing everything in his power to attend.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said she would to be there.
"We have an amazing community full of beautiful people. I'm looking forward to standing united with many for peace in our community at this event," Mrs Lauga said.
Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow said we had all been deeply saddened by the death and distress brought by the terrorist attack.
"Our places of worship should be safe places. I extend condolences on behalf of the Rockhampton Regional community to the families involved and to Muslim communities of New Zealand and Australia," Cr Strelow said.
"I encourage our community to show our support and solidarity with our Muslim neighbours by joining with them on Friday evening."