Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Jewish leaders donate $1m to mosque victims


Jewish community leaders joined Muslim officials in Christchurch today [17 July], to hand over a million dollars raised in an American city for the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman (front left) and Asher Levi Etherington (front right) show Muslim visitors a Torah at a Christchurch Synagogue. Photo: Supplied

Following the 15 March shooting, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh raised over $900,000 for Christchurch Muslims.

The act of generosity was inspired after Muslims rallied around the Jewish community when an armed shooter opened fire in a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people in October last year.

At a lunch time ceremony, the New Zealand Jewish Council president, handed over a cheque to the Christchurch Foundation, to establish the Abrahamic fund.

For members of the Muslim and Jewish faith, today's ceremony was much more then just a transferral of money from one faith to another.

It was an opportunity to explore the other's religion, as Jewish and Muslim leaders were taken on a tour of each religion's respective places of worship.

For Canterbury Hebrew congregation member Yasmin Sellars, her first time inside a mosque was an opportunity for comparison.

"I have obviously seen a Mosque in movies and television before.

"All I was doing was comparing how do we do things, and the first thing was there's no chairs!"

Dr Anwar Ghani (red) takes the Jewish visitors on a tour of a Christchurch Mosque. Photo: Supplied

Chairs aside, the visits saw Muslims and Jews realise just how many similarities they shared.

Federation of Islamic Associations New Zealand spokesperson, Dr Anwar Ghani's first time in a synagogue, was an experience he thought both communities could learn from.

"The similarities between the two faith groups is just unreal. This is also something we need to be promoting within our own communities, that people should visit places of worship so that we improve understanding about each other."

After their respective visits, both groups joined Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel for lunch and the launch of the Abrahamic fund.

During her address, the 30 or so people gathered in the Mayor's lounge collectively nodded their heads when Ms Dalziel said the donation was an extraordinary gift.

"The world will remember the response long after they remember the person who committed this atrocity. They will never forget those whose lives were so cruelly taken on that day."

New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman signed the document to establish the new fund.

He said the Christchurch Foundation would allocate the fund's money according to the needs of families affected by the attack.

"The purposes [in the fund] we have defined are not necessarily complete because no one knows what the needs are for the community.

"It is looking long term at things like education, medical needs, counselling, financial advice and planning and also to improve Muslim-Jewish relations."

New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff travelled from Australia to deliver close to $70,000 worth of money raised by jews living in the state.

He said it would have been easy to simply transfer the money but he wanted to send a message with his presence.

"I wanted to come on behalf of the Jewish Board of Deputies to physically stand here and say we did this because we cared. That's why I wanted to come here and have a symbolic presence to show that we are all members of one humanity."

Today's agreement signed by the Jewish Council and the Christchurch Foundation, acknowledged that any allocation of funds would consider the interests of Muslims.

The foundation would now consult with Christchurch's Islamic community to identify areas where support is needed.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Betraying The Kurds

The Americans have now callously thrown the Kurds under the bus and created the ideal conditions for Islamic State to mount a comeback – all done so that Donald Trump can brag on the 2020 campaign trail that he brought the US troops home. How is the current fighting likely to proceed? More>>

ALSO:

Expert Comment: Online Voting Won’t Mean More Engagement

“Overseas experience is that online voting tends to be popular with those who are already likely to vote and who have high levels of digital literacy. It does little to help add new people to the voter pool, and this holds even for young voters.”More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Saudis (Not) Getting Away With Murder

On October 2nd last year, the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul, by a hit squad of assassins acting on the orders of the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman. More>>

Ellen Rykers on The Dig: Community Conservation – The Solution To The Biodiversity Crisis?

It’s increasingly clear that a government agency alone cannot combat the biodiversity crisis successfully. These grass-roots initiatives are a growing resource in the conservation toolbox. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Saudi Oil Refinery Crisis

So the US and the Saudis claim to have credible evidence that those Weapons of Oil Destruction came from Iran, their current bogey now that Saddam Hussein is no longer available. Evidently, the world has learned nothing from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when dodgy US intel was wheeled out to justify the invasion of Iraq, thereby giving birth to ISIS and causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. More>>

ALSO: