Breitbart News spoke with Farid Ahmed – who survived the March 15, 2019, terrorist attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, where his wife was killed along with 50 others – and Yamini Ravindran, a Christian who represents the victims of the terrorist attack in Sri Lanka that killed 259 people and injured hundreds on Easter Sunday.
The two spoke with reporters on Tuesday at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC, the second annual event bringing hundreds of faith leaders and religious liberty advocates from around the world together to advance freedom of religion.
Breitbart News asked them how their faith has helped them to recover from such horrific trauma.
“Faith is helping us tremendously,” said Ahmed, who is wheelchair-bound and lost his wife when she was shot while trying to help him escape. “We believe that this life is very short.”
“And this life is for a purpose,” Ahmed said. “And we will die one day.”
“But we would have died doing good things,” Ahmed said. “And if someone kills me and I’m the innocent person then I get the status of martyrdom … I did not harm anyone and someone else has wrongfully taken my life.”
“As far as a loved one’s death [is] concerned, for their safety and security we believe they are in the good hands there in the heavens so they’re in peace … because we know they’re being taken care of,” Ahmed said. “Until we die our mission is, as the Quran says, ‘Our time is here to do as much good as we should do.’”
“I’m a believer of Jesus Christ and the Bible says the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor and, in this part of recovery, even as we are called to love, forgiveness plays a very important truth because the Bible also talks about how important it is to forgive irrespective of the times that you are attacked; irrespective of what you go through, we have been told to forgive,” Ravindran said.
“And the most important commandment is to love,” Ravindran said. “And I think it is the core principle and the foundation of what we believe in that has really strengthened the Christian community in Sri Lanka.”
Ravindran also said her faith promises life after death.
“I think it is the hope that after death we do have life after death and there is definitely eternal life,” Ravindran said. “It is the hope of seeing loved ones even though they died early.”
“And having that kind of hope, to be able to see them is also the second [best] coping [skill] and foundation that has really helped the Christian community to be very resilient and to move forward from all this hurt and challenges [sic] that we have been going through,” Ravindran said.
Ravindran is the legal and advocacy coordinator for the Sri Lankan NGO National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL).
“NCEASL forcefully condemned incidents of violence and discrimination against Muslims in the aftermath of the attacks,” her biography on the ministerial website states.
Ahmed, a homeopathic consultant, moved with his wife to New Zealand 30 years ago from Bangladesh and spoke about forgiving the man who killed his wife at a national memorial service on March 29, 2019.
“I don’t want to have a heart that is boiling like a volcano,” Ahmed said. “A volcano has anger, fury, rage; it doesn’t have peace, it has hatred … it burns itself within and it burns the surroundings.”
“I don’t want to have a heart like this and I believe no one does,” Ahmed said.
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