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Christchurch victims still healing on 4th anniversary of attack on mosques


Families and survivors of the 2019 terror attack on Christchurch mosques in New Zealand are recalling the shooting, and honouring their loved ones with compassion and forgiveness on the 4th anniversary of the assault.

On March 15, 2019, Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist, killed 51 people and injured 40 more at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 2020 without the possibility of parole, in the first such ruling ever handed down in the island country.

Linwood Mosque's leader, Imam Abdul Lateef, who has played a significant role in the process, told Anadolu Agency that the Linwood Mosque was one of the two mosques attacked in the horrific terror attack on March 15, 2019, and four years later, the community is still healing, working to move on.

Lateef lost friends and members of his congregation in the attack, but he has been a pillar of strength for the community in the aftermath. 

He has worked tirelessly to promote healing and reconciliation, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Overcoming trauma

Temel Atacocugu, a survivor of the 2019 attack, has been left with 52 percent disability and is still feeling the effects of the trauma after being shot nine times during the assault.

Despite the difficulties he has been facing, Atacocugu told Anadolu Agency that he remains grateful for the support he has received from people all around the world.

Speaking to reporters, he expressed his appreciation for the love and care shown to him and his fellow survivors.

Atacocugu's message of hope and peace is one that resonates with many, and he has vowed to respond to hate with peace. His unwavering commitment to this message is an inspiration to others who have been affected by similar tragedies.

'Long road to recovery'

Lawrence Kimberley, the Dean of Christchurch, recently spoke to Anadolu Agency about the incredible response of the people of Christchurch in the wake of the attacks.

Kimberley reflected on the way the community rose up, particularly those affected by the two mosques that were attacked, and said that their response was amazing to witness. "The way the people rose up, especially the people of the two mosques that were attacked and said this is not who we are -and that was an amazing thing to see," he said.

While the community's response to the attacks was heartening, Kimberley acknowledged that those who were directly affected by the events will still face a long road to recovery.

"The people that were affected by this will be on a long road to recovery and says we remember them regularly and we pray for healing," he said.