New Zealand Abrahamic Fund established for victims of Christchurch terrorist attack
17 July 2019
Christchurch mosque victims gifted more than $1.1 million by International Jewish community today.
Ceremony attended by members of the Jewish and Islamic communities, and the Mayor of Christchurch.
More than $1 million raised by the Jewish communities of New Zealand, Australia and America was officially gifted to the victims of the Christchurch Mosque attacks via The Christchurch Foundation today.
The money constitutes the New Zealand Abrahamic fund. Decisions on the grants coming from this fund will have guidance from both the Muslim and Jewish communities. The fund is designed to offer a response to the long term needs of a community who have been forever changed by the events of March 15th 2019.
“Our faith has a shared Abrahamic tradition, and Jews and Muslims have both suffered persecution and racism historically, and unfortunately still do today,” says Stephen Goodman of the New Zealand Jewish Council. “The Jewish community, both in New Zealand and overseas, wanted the victims of the mosque attacks to know that we see them, we empathise with them, and we support them.”
As well as the New Zealand Jewish community, the fund has received donations from the New South Wales Jewish Community (represented by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies), the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburg, who were victims of a similar attack in October 2018.
Today’s event involved a tour of the affected mosques by the visiting representatives and members of the local Jewish community, and the presentation of a cheque by NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff to Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, on behalf of the Christchurch Foundation. Dalziel is a trustee of the Foundation.
Humphry Rolleston Chair of the Christchurch Foundation, said “that it was a privilege to act as stewards for the Abrahamic Fund, on behalf of those affected by the attacks on 15 March.”
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff travelled from Australia for the event and to meet members of the Christchurch Islamic community.
“The massacre occurred at a time when people were at their most vulnerable -‐ at prayer in a house of worship,” he says. “All humanity is profoundly the poorer for this. We remember the attacks on the mosque in Quebec, the synagogue in Pittsburgh, the church in Charleston, and in March this year the mosques in Christchurch. An attack on one faith is an attack on us all. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the Christchurch massacre and we extend our hand in friendship in calling for an end to racism, an end to antisemitism, an end to Islamophobia and an end to bigotry in all its forms.”
It has been requested that part of the money will be used on interfaith activities to foster greater connection between to the two communities, who have a history of working together in Aotearoa.
“The Jewish and Muslim community in New Zealand already have a long history of collaboration, but this wider gift of support from the global community is very gratefully received,” says Ibrar Sheikh from the Federation of Islamic Associations NZ (FIANZ). “The events of March 15th 2019 have had a deep and lasting impact on the Muslim community in New Zealand, and indeed the people of Aotearoa as a whole. To know that our Jewish brothers and sisters understand what we have gone through, and are still going through, and are there to help us in our recovery is very important to us.”