Simon Birmingham: As-salāmu ʿalaykum.
Today we gather in shock and in grief.
But also with determination and hope in our hearts.
Last Friday the solemnity of worship was shattered, along with so many lives, by a terrorist act of a far right extremist.
That it happened in the country of our ANZAC partner, in Adelaide’s sister city of Christchurch, and to our Muslim brothers and sisters in a peaceful place of worship makes this attack on some feel like an attack on us all.
People’s emotions and reactions are mixed.
Some are angry.
Some are overwhelmed with sadness.
Some are fearful.
Each reaction is understandable and often the emotions overlap.
Right now, how we harness these emotions will help to define our future.
From fear we should strive for unity. A unity of purpose that, whatever our differences, we will stand together, in protection of one another.
From sadness we should turn to love. A love that guides us to respect and celebrate our diversity.
From anger we should reach deep to find optimism. An optimism determined that from an act of such evil we can create a better, more peaceful future.
On behalf of the Australian Government we stand with those of the Islamic faith and the people of New Zealand at this time of anguish.
We condemn without reservation or qualification the act of evil that was perpetrated and any who may sympathise with it.
We will work together with those of all faiths and of none to protect the safety of all as they exercise their fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom of religion and worship.
This vigil – and hundreds like it across the globe – transcend faith, politics or cultural differences.
By being here, together, we can at once express our anger, sadness and fears while making a statement of unity, love and optimism.
I thank South Australia’s Islamic community for allowing us to share your embrace today and each and everyone here for the statement you are making in your attendance.
May peace and love be with us all.