Augie’s love overcomes hatred of New Zealand shooting


Sarah Kayali

It has happened in the past, it happened now, and it’ll probably happen again in the near future. Today, I discuss the news of yet another tragic terrorist attack.
On Friday Mar 15, a terrorist walked into a mosque during a peaceful Friday prayer and shot dead 50 people as well as injuring many more. Muslims all around the world were left terrified, shocked, and frightened.
That Friday, I sat with my physical body in class but my mind and heart were with those 50 people shot dead. None of my professors discussed it in class and I avoided talking to anyone about what happened. I chose silence.
On Monday, Mar 18, my religion professor brought up this topic first thing in class. My professor discussed the terrorist attack and talked about the 50 people who were killed that day. At that moment I felt tears rushing down my face and I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I ran outside of class into the bathroom. I broke down. Clearly, I was not okay
A few minutes later, I heard someone come into the bathroom. A student from my religion class walked in, looked at me, and asked if I needed a hug. At that moment, that is exactly what I needed. She opened her arms and gave me the biggest hug anyone has ever given me.
In the middle of the hug, she whispered to me and said “I love you.” Keep in mind that at the moment she was just a random girl I knew from religion class. At that moment I knew exactly what she was trying to say. She was trying to tell me that she knew I was a Muslim, and her, as a Non-Muslim, loved me anyway. She was acknowledging the fact that we came from different religious backgrounds and let me know she still loved me.
At that moment I saw hope. At that moment I saw good in the world. At that moment I realized that hate will never win. Today, I will not speak of the terrorist. I will speak of the 50 lives that were taken away.
I will speak of the doctors, the engineers, the teachers, and every single person who lost their life that day. I will speak of Syed Jahandad Ali, 34 year old, beloved husband, father, computer programmer, and a victim of the terrorist attack. I will speak of Linda Armstrong, grandmother, community leader, humanitarian, and victim of the terrorist attack. I will speak of  Muhammad Haq, a son, loyal friend, aspiring dentist, and a victim of the terrorist attack.
Lastly, I will speak of Augustana college, and the supportive campus community we have. I will speak of the student in my religion class, who showed me the good side of all of this – God bless her heart. The student who, through her kind hug, taught me that between a battle of love and hate, hate will never win. Augustana had a vigil prayer on Thursday March 21st where many students and faculty members showed up. Not just any campus would do such a thing. I feel very blessed to be part of a caring and diverse community.
Cartoon by Cassie Talbot.