An Australian Muslim TV presenter fought back tears as he condemned the Christchurch terror attack in a heartbreaking monologue last night.
Waleed Aly, who is the co-host of the current affairs television programme The Project, started by saying he initially didn't want to film a segment responding to the attack, which happened during lunchtime prayers on Friday. He said:
The truth is I don't want to be talking today. When I was asked if it was something I wanted to do, I resisted it all day until finally I had this overwhelming sense that it was somehow my responsibility to do so and maybe that's misguided.
Aly reminded everyone that, as shocking as this attack was, it wasn't unsurprising either, citing all the other recent terror attacks aimed at different places of worship:
Of all the things that I could say tonight, that I'm gutted and I'm scared and I feel overcome with utter hopelessness, the most dishonest thing would be to say that I'm shocked. I'm simply not.
There is nothing about what happened in Christchurch today that shocks me. I wasn't shocked when six people were shot to death at a mosque in Quebec city two years ago, I wasn't shocked when a man drove a van into Finsbury Park mosque about six months later. And I wasn't shocked when 11 Jews were shot dead in a Pittsburgh synagogue late last year or when nine Christians were killed at a church in Charleston. If we're honest, we'll know this has been coming.
The presenter was visibly upset, and it was obvious that, being a devout Muslim himself, the attack had taken a personal toll on him:
I went to the mosque today, I do that every Friday, just like the people in those mosques in Christchurch today. I know exactly what those moments before the shooting began would have been like.
I know how quiet, how still, how introspective those people would have been before they were suddenly gunned down, how separated from the world they were feeling until the world came in and tore their lives apart and I know that the people who did this knew well enough how profoundly defenceless their victims were in that moment.
This is a congregational prayer that happens every week like clockwork. This was slaughter by appointment.
“You’ll have to forgive me, these won’t be my best words...”
On this heartbreaking day, Waleed reflects and calls… https://t.co/ks5thxNT6E
In the 5-minute monologue he also quoted Australian politician Fraser Anning's controversial letter, commenting that it is this kind of talk that incites hate. Aly's speech was so powerful that many flocked to Twitter to express how it made them feel.
@theprojecttv Man. I love this guy. I’ve never seen him look so vulnerable, sad, small.
Much love to you, Waleed. Stay strong.