'What Doesn’t Break You Makes You Stronger': Christchurch Survivors Stand United
Sherif Ibrahim was in the mosque when the Christchurch gunman opened fire. The 25-year-old Egyptian-born accountant said he feels only love for his country and his fellow Kiwis.
"He achieved nothing. He didn’t succeed in anything, he’s a failure in life and he’ll rot in prison," the Kiwi man told Hamish McDonald on The Project on Sunday.
"There’s anger of course and there’s sadness, I am devastated, but i will not be deterred, I will go into any mosque and continue to practice my faith.”
Ibrahim was in the mosque with his family when the alleged gunman entered, opening fire. The attack lasted just minutes and left 50 people dead.
Ibrahim spoke of his terror at being caught up in the shooting.
"Words can not explain what I had, the feeling was surreal... like something out of a movie," he told The Project.
Ibrahim recalled the gunman as being "very silent" as he unleashed his rampage, appearing to be "very well trained".
"He obviously knew what he was doing," Ibrahim said.
"I left from the exit and ran... and thankfully there was a person there that let me in. I was covered in blood and he was in shock, his wife let me in”.
When asked whose blood he was covered in, Ibrahim said he didn't know.
"I sometimes feel guilty, I wish I could’ve done something, but in my position there was no way that I could do anything," he said.
The heart-wrenching interview was the emotional centrepiece of a special edition of The Project.
Much has been made of host Waleed Aly's emotional and impassioned monologue, delivered straight to camera just hours after the extent of the massacre became known on Friday.
Aly described the shooting as "slaughter by appointment", in comments that have been viewed more than 12 million times across various social media platforms.
"I'm gutted and I'm scared and I feel overcome with utter hopelessness. The most dishonest thing, the most dishonest thing to say would be that I'm shocked," he said on Friday.
"It's scary because like many other Muslims, I am going to keep attending those appointments and it feels like fish in a barrel."
On Sunday, Aly said he didn't care about the statistics of his video, and instead praised a Sydney fire station for its message to Muslims.
A sign on the front of the station in Newtown read "Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un" an Arabic phrase which translates to "To god we belong and to him we return".
"That’s actually saying we want to understand you, we want to connect with you on your terms and in your way," Aly said.
"It’s those little things that will make a difference".
Earlier, fellow host Steve Price had called for more swift action in response to senator Fraser Anning, who issued a statement just hours after the attack in which he directed blame at Muslim immigrants to New Zealand.
"Scott Morrison should have a media conference tomorrow and say that when parliament resumes on budget week, that Anning will not be allowed in the building," Price said, as the audience clapped.
"I don't care what the law is."
But the final word should go to Ibrahim. Speaking to McDonald, he said violence would not win, and that New Zealand would be left stronger as a result of the attack.
"This will be one example to show the world that we are united against racism, against xenophobia, against Islamophobia against hate. And this will only galvanise people, he has proved nothing except that he is a coward," he said.
"This is what New Zealand is like, this is why my family continues to live in this country, and will continue to live in NZ."
"What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.”