JEDDAH: Just over four months ago, police superintendent Naila Hassan was giving an emotional speech at a vigil in New Zealand for the 51 people murdered in the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack.
Now Hassan, New Zealand’s most senior Muslim police officer, is in Makkah to take part in the Hajj pilgrimage — and her dream has come true.
“As a Muslim, you just dream about seeing the Kaaba and going to Makkah and Madinah,” she said in a video thanking Saudi King Salman for hosting the Christchurch pilgrims.
“When I saw the Kaaba this morning, I was breathless, I really was.
“But … as much as it’s a journey for me, I’m here for the victims … I’m here particularly for the women and the widows that are here. I’m here to support them.”
New Zealand’s most senior Muslim police officer Naila Hassan thanks King Salman, the Saudi government, and the Saudi people for hosting relatives of the victims, and survivors of the #Christchurch mosques attack #Hajj2019 https://t.co/O0PgPg9uf4 pic.twitter.com/9XlPnxVDk8
— Arab News (@arabnews) August 9, 2019
Vigil in Auckland
Hassan described how she and about 200 other pilgrims were welcomed with petals, singing and gifts. “I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life,” she said.
“I’m thanking King Salman for his generosity. He has just been unbelievably generous to the people of New Zealand.”
The day after the March 15 Christchurch massacre, Hassan gave a speech at a vigil in Auckland in support of the Muslim community and fellow New Zealanders.
Opening with the Islamic greeting, she reassured the crowd that police were providing support to the Muslim community and everyone affected.
Saudi Arabia's Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said on Sunday that hosting the Christchurch pilgrims was part of Saudi efforts to “confront and defeat terrorism” in all its forms.