General

Christchurch memorial held at Curtin University

Curtin staff and students bow their heads during a moment of silence at Thursday’s memorial service for the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.
Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry AO speaks at Thursday’s memorial service for the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

More than 200 staff and students attended a service at Curtin University to pay respect to those killed in the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch.

The memorial service was held at 12.30pm in the Forum on campus.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry AO spoke at the memorial, saying despite the horror of the attack, the gunman would not divide the communities of Australia and New Zealand.

“The spirit of the Muslim community, and indeed of New Zealand itself is strong and resilient,” she said.

“They will endure and they will overcome.”

Crowds begin to gather for the memorial, while the New Zealand flag flies at half-mast. Photo:Scott Sandon.

Imam Yahya Ibrahim had been scheduled to speak, but had instead flown to Christchurch to join mourners there.

Curtin Student Guild general secretary Chris Hall spoke on behalf of the student body, and pointed at Australia’s political climate as a potential cause of Friday’s attack.

“Not only do I see mourning, I see anger,” he said.

“Anger with the complacency of those who sit in Parliament House, anger that a community’s voice is being swallowed by a rising platform for those who actively spread hatred.”

Anti-racist activist Erin Russell also attended the memorial service.

“When something like this happens, the worst thing that can happen is for there to be no response, and if there’s no response that speaks for itself: that is saying that what has happened is just completely normal,” she said.

Ms Russell also urged further action to combat Islamophobia.

“I think we can’t just have memorial services, I think we need to look at why this happened, which is that there is growing white supremacy coming from the establishment in Australia and other parts of the world.”

The memorial follows rallies organised by student activists at UWA and Curtin on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, which were attended by an estimated total of more than 600 students and staff.

The attack last Friday which killed 50 and injured 50 more is the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of Australia and New Zealand.

An Australian citizen planned the attack and released a 73-page manifesto detailing his far-right politics and his motivations for the attack.