Masters responds to tragedy in New Zealand

A vigil was held on March 17, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Kristina Hoeppner

A vigil was held on March 17, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Mitch Fink

A gunman opened fire on two different mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, killing 50 innocent people. The attack shocked the entire world, but particularly hurt the Muslim community. Among the 50 people who lost their lives was a family of Syrian refugees, who came to New Zealand believing that it was a safe-haven from the rampant violence in Syria. The shooting, although it occurred during Masters’ spring break, was certainly not forgotten by the Masters community.

Simon Wu, a student of CityTerm who hails from Auckland, New Zealand, said, “It’s just really shocking and terrible. It’s something you would never expect to happen to a place like New Zealand.”

The Masters community quickly sprang into action on helping contribute to relief efforts in Christchurch, and on the first Matters of Spirit day back from break, members of the Muslim Community at Masters seniors Youssef Aly, Amina Choudhry, and Abdoul Bah shared their thoughts on the tragedy, and islamophobia in America today.

Aly said, “I thought [the morning meeting speeches] that for people it wasn’t just another Matters of Spirit, and then ‘let’s just go to class’. Everyone was really giving it the level of importance it deserved.”

French teacher Abdoulaye Ngom agreed. “I was really impressed to see, as a Muslim, the whole community come together during Matters of Spirit,” Ngom said.

In addition to the speeches at Morning Meeting, a letter-writing table was set up during lunch in the Dining Hall, which wrote over 130 letters to the families of those affected by the tragedy in Christchurch.

The table, set up by another Muslim senior, Parsa Kevyani, was used as yet another way to help heal the pain and sadness from the shooting.

Sophomore Brooke Tatarian, who was at Kevyani’s table, said, “It really had a big effect on me. Not just hearing about it [the attack in Christchurch], but also being able to make an impact.”

According to Aly, from the Matters of Spirit, to the lunch tables, the response from the Masters community was done well, and much appreciated. “I think Masters has handled it well,” Aly said.