Dr Hamimah Tuyan knows what it is like to grieve. Her husband, Zekeriya Tuyan was the 51st martyr to pass away after the Christchurch shootings, leaving Hamimah to raise their two young sons.
She says the trauma being felt by those impacted by the attack is very real.
“We’ve heard about the pain felt by those who lost their loved ones and the myriad of issues survivors of the attack are facing. Everyone is still going through different degrees of mental trauma.”
The sentencing earlier this year was incredibly tough for Hamimah, who travelled to New Zealand from her home in Singapore to be in court. She left behind her two sons and had to complete two weeks of isolation when she arrived.
“Other than prayers, what helped me through that week was listening to the brave brothers and sisters make their statements. Their words and their grace inspired and fortified me.”
During her managed isolation in Auckland, Hamimah received support from friends and whanāu.
“There were two friends who checked on me daily via text messages – from the time I woke up to the time just before I went to bed. They did not allow me time to feel lonely and they listened patiently to my thoughts, feelings and ideas. So take advantage of technology - solace and comfort do not have to be delivered in person.”
To help her sons, aged 11 and 6, come to terms with the loss of their beloved Dad, Hamimah has drawn on the Quran.
“In the Quran we find assurance that with every difficulty, there is relief. I shared lessons such as these with my boys and I made sure I answered their questions about the attack simply and truthfully.”
Hamimah wants to make sure that New Zealanders are aware of what they can do to bring some good out of the trauma of March 15.
She says the Christchurch Invitation can guide us towards building a more compassionate society.
The Christchurch Invitation is a joint message from the Imams of the two mosques that were attacked and is a global call for people to come together and build a more peaceful society.
“It encourages us to spread peace, feed and support the needy, strengthen bonds of kinship and reflect on ourselves. These four values resonate with people of any faith and non-faith and if we all do them, we can build a better world for everyone.”