Muslims in Samoa hope for peace

A local Muslim leader said he is hopeful the community will face less discrimination as the gunman behind the mass murder perpetrated in two Christchurch mosques last year faces trial in New Zealand.

Brenton Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, pleaded guilty in March to killling 51 charges of killing people as they prayed; 40 of attempted murder; and one charge of committing a terrorist attack. He appeared in court to face his victims for the first time on Monday. 

Speaking during an interview with the Samoa Observer, Dr. Muhammad, also known as Laulu Dan Stanley, said while the attack happened in Christchurch, Samoan Muslims have still felt repercussions here. 

“[People] were all looking at me, watching me [to see] if I would react in some way,” he said. 

“Basically [we hope] our local residents will have less thoughts of discrimination against the Muslims now.

“Our way is trying to maintain peace and Islam, when you say the word Islam, it’s peace.”

The local Muslim community is about 200 people strong, he said. 

The local Muslim leader says death was a worthy punishment for the gunman. 

“We will become like him if he is punished to death but we feel for our members who have become victims of this unfortunate attack,” he said.

“Would’ve been nice if there were capital punishments in New Zealand.”

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