The terrorist who murdered dozens of Muslims in Christchurch has been told his hateful attack on the religion of Islam has failed and actually empowered many of the victims to share their faith.
Brenton Tarrant, 29, is being sentenced in the High Court at Christchurch on 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a terror-related charge after a hateful massacre at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in March 2019.
He had intended to destroy the religion but, in a second day of harrowing victim impact statements, Raesha Ismail, who lost her brother Junaid, told the gunman the public perception of Muslims changed for the better following the attacks.
“After the events of March 2019, I do not feel I have to hide my faith,” she told the killer.
“I have been able to openly share my faith as I have noticed more tolerance in the New Zealand community.”
She was able, for the first time in her 18 year career, to be more expressive in public about her faith and put up the Islamic timetable in the office showing Ramadan and prayer times. A colleague helped her to arrange an event for Eid in the workplace.
Her brother lived on in the legacy of his “three beautiful children,” she said.
“I believe our family will bring them up to be strong New Zealand-born Muslim children.”
Others echoed the same sentiments, saying the incident had led to the world learning more about Islam, and allowed them to push past prejudice to openly follow their faith.
The sentencing continues.