Following the deadly attack on two mosques in New Zealand, Swift Current's Muslim community is reacting to the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 50 people and garnered vocal responses from local and global politicians.

After a prayer service at the Islamic Centre of Swift Current Friday afternoon, calls for tolerance, education, and inclusion were heard from its participants.

Mirvat Ouwayza, one of the participants in the prayer, spoke about her reaction, and said that inclusion is something she would strive towards.

"What happened in New Zealand is breaking our hearts, because they are innocent people. Whether they are Muslim or from different religions, it would be hurting our hearts, because any innocent people, they aren't supposed to be killed in this way."

"All immigrants in general choose, for example, Swift Current, or Canada to be our home, because we are seeking safety - we are seeking to be in a good place for our children to be raised in. For this reason, we are here in Canada, and for sure we are all against racism against any religion. We are happy to live with all other religions in general."

Meanwhile, Anas is a Syrian refugee and entrepreneur, and noted that New Zealand's deadliest-ever shooting highlighted the need for education about inclusivity.

"I think what happened was an isolated action. I condemn it - I condemn any type of violence against any person," said Anas. "We are peaceful people, we like to live with peace with anybody, and I wish that the government does something to clarify the image [of muslims] that the media has portrayed around the world.

"Whoever has a problem with Islam, I recommend them to come up to a Muslim person and ask them about anything that he's in doubt with," Anas explained. "Hopefully, we can avoid this type of violence in the future, as this obviously is a misunderstanding of Islam."

He added that, as an immigrant, education about how they benefit the communities they move to is crucial.

"There are a lot of stories about the immigrants who come to any country, not just New Zealand or Canada. A lot of people came to new countries and they started new businesses, and they helped develop that country, so immigration is always good for any country they live in," he continued. "We came here to start a new life, trying to help us first off, and then help the country we live in, building and creating jobs, and helping the economy in general."

Anas said that the people of Swift Current have been supportive of him, and that he had not faced any discrimination since moving here.

Mounjed Trad shared in the same experience, in terms of inclusion.

"We have not felt [discrimination] here, and we hope we do not feel it. I don't think it is going to happen here. I personally feel safe in this area."

Danish Ahmed came to Canada from India in December of last year, and he said being exposed to this type of attack persecuting Muslims was concerning.

"Hopefully we don't have any kind of attacks in the future, and Canada is a safe country... I find myself safer here, but seeing these kind of attacks across other countries, I feel a little unsafe."

Iman Syad also immigrated to Canada from India, and condemned any discriminatory violence.

"Besides religion, it's all about being human first. Everybody should stand up [against] this, doesn't matter what religion, what race, or what region you live in, we should step up against these kinds of actions."

The members of the Islamic Centre said that they hope the attack can bring change to the social landscapes that the shooting occurred in.

More Local News

SwiftCurrentOnline.com is Swift Current's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Login