What a wonderful gathering! It was as if the whole world came together in Spreydon Primary School hall, in Christchurch on Saturday 10 April 2021, for the Unity in Diversity Dinner.
The organisers, Bangladeshi Parents’ Group wanted to pay respect to their 5 martyrs and 3 injured in 15 March Christchurch massacre and to pray for all martyrs and injured by celebrating the unity against hate. Since I was born in Bangladesh, I had the privilege to take a role as a volunteer.
We as a community were deeply moved by the love we were given by the lovely people from diverse walks of life and we were inspired by the unity among people in love, peace, and compassion. So, we wanted to acknowledge that precious spirit of unity by the “Unity in Diversity Dinner event.”
As planned, 300 selected guests were gathered from all walks of life. That included teachers, professionals, community leaders, Imams, Members of Parliament, Ministers, Ambassadors, representatives from Police, Ambulance, Victim Support, Mayor and former mayor, City Councillors, Human Rights Commission people, interfaith leaders, charity organisations, civil society leaders, and neighbours who provided support to Muslims during and after the shooting.
A minute of silence was observed in respect to late HRH Prince Philip. The remembrance service was followed by a panel discussion regarding unity in diversity before the dinner and Nasheed (spiritual songs).
The speakers at the event included Farid Ahmed, Patrick O’Connor, Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Minister Megan Woods.
Bangladeshi children group recited the opening chapter of the Quran in order to commence the program followed by Recitation by Imam Abdul Lateef and dua by Imam Jamal Fouda.
There were video messages from HE Rosemary Banks NZ ambassador to Washington DC, HE Patricia Forsythe, Australian High Commissioner to NZ, Hon Minister Priyanca Radhakrishna.
The panel included Hon Minister Andrew Little, HE Mira Woldberg, Netherlands’ ambassador to NZ, respected Faran foley Deputy Ambassador of Ireland to NZ, respected Leslie Goodman Country Public Affairs Officer, US Mission in NZ, Dr Duncan MP, and Human Rights Commissioner, Mr Paul hunt.
The entire event was moderated by Br Anthony Green.
The dinner ended with the positive note that each one of us should work for promoting unity amongst humanity in order to live in peace.
Guests took the opportunity to make connections with others through smile, chat, and by sharing contacts during the round tables.
Bangladeshi parents’ group was praised for their hard work for organizing such a meaningful event that the world needs.