After another terror attack it can sometimes be possible to lose all hope in human nature.
“How do these things keep happening?” we ask ourselves.
“How come so many people are filled with such visceral hatred they would sit down and calmly plan, organise and carry out a killing spree of women, children and people at prayer, with the intention of terrifying millions more around the globe?”
And so often we next think: “Is there nothing we can do to turn back the tide on such hatred?”
But then, out of that darkness, there comes hope once again. Most movingly in the last few days, I found, in the words of Farid Ahmed.
The 59-year-old’s wife Husna was one of the 50 people killed in the terror attacks on Friday.
She had already led dozens of women and children to safety when she went back into the Al Noor mosque to help her husband.
That time she was struck by one of the bullets being randomly sprayed around the room. No one could be remotely surprised if Farid was overwhelmed by hatred for the man who had taken his wife from him and changed his life for ever in a few dreadful moments.
And yet Farid’s response was the very opposite. “I love that person because he is a human, a brother of mine. I do not support what he did. But I have forgiven him and I am sure if my wife was alive she would have done the same thing.”
And in an instant Farid Ahmed has shown the only way to get through the horror that hatred has brought about.
I remember the parents of Jimmy Mizen , who was killed in a south London bakery a day after he turned 16. They too forgave the killer of their son.
Afterwards his mum Margaret said: “I feel it was absolutely right in my heart to forgive him because by forgiving him I’m able to do all the things I want to do. It allows me to look out the window and see the sun shining and the flowers blossoming.
“If I didn’t it would fill me with so much hate I wouldn’t be able to do these things.
“I do forgive him, but I forgive him for myself.”
It seems extraordinary that someone so wounded by another can forgive them so quickly. But the Mizen parents and now Mr Ahmed have shown it can be done – for themselves. And for everyone else too.
We, who have been personally blessed if we’ve never been so touched by disaster, would do well to learn from Mr Ahmed.
Because, as he says: “Anger and fighting doesn’t fix anything. But through love and care we can warm hearts.”
What an inspirational message from an inspirational man.
New Zealand mosque terror attack
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