ChCHStrap

Three days after the Christchurch terror attack, survivor Farid Ahmed's message of hope, love and forgiveness - even as he grieved for his slain wife - touched many.

His wife Husna Ahmed was killed at the Al Noor mosque.

She had guided the women and children to safety and ran back in several times to find her husband, who uses a wheelchair.

Farid Ahmed had managed to escape and was hiding just metres from where his love was gunned down.

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On the anniversary of the massacre he reflects in his own words on what happened and what he believes is the way forward.

Farid Ahmed survived the March 15 terror attack. Photo / NZ Herald
Farid Ahmed survived the March 15 terror attack. Photo / NZ Herald

After 12 months my love towards my wife has not changed a bit.

Still now, often I cry, I miss, I feel emotional, I listen to my daughter's cry, we talk, and we gather strength to move on.

My prayers for my wife also have not changed at all.

My determination to turn my grief into a message of love and peace has not changed from that tragic day.

What are the changes then?

The strength to carry the grief is stronger now.

My activities in peace advocacy have increased through teaching, writing, speaking nationally and internationally.

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My opportunity to be lazy while my wife was supporting me has decreased and I am forced to cope with more voluntary work for the sake of peace, unity for mankind.

I am more courageous now and I am more giving than before.

I feel people have given me lots of love, prayers and support over the last year- especially, Christchurch residents and kind-hearted Kiwis who have shown extraordinary love and compassion towards me and towards other Muslims.

Through my international participation I received praises from delegates all over the world about Kiwis' loving spirit.

I feel like I must give something back.

So, may I ask all Christchurch residents and all Kiwis - how are you?

I love you all.

Thank you for your love and compassion.

You are number one.

What March 15 2019 taught me

I can always be loving no matter what happens.

I can continue doing good despite other people doing bad to me.

Farid and Husna Ahmed at their Christchurch home. This is the last photo taken of her before she was killed. Photo / supplied
Farid and Husna Ahmed at their Christchurch home. This is the last photo taken of her before she was killed. Photo / supplied

I can always retain my own inner peace even though my surroundings are without peace.

My honour is my high morality, and no one can take away it from me.

My heart is bigger than what I used to think, and it has enough room to love entire mankind.

Accepting the fate is the key to my inner happiness.

Staying positive is my choice and no one has control over my choice.

Taking mankind as my human brothers and sisters has strengthened my heart with love, hope and I have not lost anything by doing that.

Life is too short, I can die in any moment, so I should do as much good as possible towards others to please my Lord.

Love always wins

Love wins hearts, but hate does not.

Kiwis are loving and compassionate and that wins hearts from people all around the world - hate would not have.

Muslims took the path of patience and love which earned love back - hate could not have done that.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's "we are one" policy has won hearts - a hate policy would not have.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern waves to the crowd after attending the huge Friday pray meeting that was held in Hagley Park Christchurch a week after the attack. Photo / NZ Herald
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern waves to the crowd after attending the huge Friday pray meeting that was held in Hagley Park Christchurch a week after the attack. Photo / NZ Herald

First responders on March 15 2019 risked their lives to save lives out of love which made them our heroes - hate could not have done that.

Those killed in the mosque attacks inspired me through their lives to spread peace to avoid further life loss - not to spread hate.

On the other hand, hate took away precious lives, maimed many but could not take love from hearts.

Hate attempted to break our nation, to cause fights, to make us victims of racism, to seek blood from one another, to destroy our economy, to tarnish our peaceful image in this world, to pollute our hearts.

But it failed terribly.

Together we made the hate fail terribly.

Ambulance staff treat a man injured in the Al Noor mosque shooting. Photo / NZ Herald
Ambulance staff treat a man injured in the Al Noor mosque shooting. Photo / NZ Herald

Congratulations New Zealand - you prove to be number one in love and compassion.

You are a true role model of peace.

How to maintain peace and harmony

We should remind one another through conversations, activities, education and policies about four fundamental facts.

1) Let us accept mankind as one large family

2) Let us treat our family members with mercy, love and compassion

3) Let us find common grounds to come closer rather than divide

4) Let us deal our differences in peaceful ways.

What is our future?

We must not lose our hope.

We witnessed one hate vs millions of loves after the March 15 tragedy.

That is a sign of hope.

We noticed our young student leaders marching for harmony and peace.

That is a sign of hope.

Flowers and tributes at the Al Huda Mosque in Dunedin following the attack on the Christchurch mosques. Photo / Dean Purcell
Flowers and tributes at the Al Huda Mosque in Dunedin following the attack on the Christchurch mosques. Photo / Dean Purcell

We have seen Muslims victims, instead of getting angry, greeting their visitors with a smile and salaam (peace greeting).

That is a sign of hope.

We have witnessed loving responses from the international community.

That is a sign of hope.

So, let us be proactive in sharing our kindness towards one and other.

With a smile, saying hello, waving, caring for families and neighbours and promoting tolerance and peace to make the world safe for our next generations.

Let us accept the fact that terrorism, hate and killing does not represent any race, religion or nationally - rather it is an evil act of individuals.

Let us work together to defeat the hate and to win the love.

Farid Ahmed has published a book about the terror attack - which is also a tribute to his late wife. It was released on March 3 and published by Allen & Unwin.

All royalties from Husna's Story: My wife, the Christchurch massacre & my journey to forgiveness will be donated to St John Ambulance.