Mazharuddin Syedahmed is a passionate cyclist. He is also a survivor of the Linwood mosque attack.
On May 26, he will help lead a memorial cycle ride, in the hope of promoting love, unity and peace across the nation.
The Peace Train will take participants on a 10km ride to several faith-based sites in and around central Christchurch. Starting at the Al Noor Mosque, the ride will end at the Linwood Mosque, with the Salvation Army offering a very light afternoon tea, in light of Ramadan.
Mazhar was at the Linwood Mosque on 15 March.
“It was a life changing event for me in many ways. I did lose a lot of friends and my aunt.”
The Ara Architecture tutor was motivated by the huge outpouring of support that was shown to him, his family and the Muslim community in the days and weeks following the attacks.
“I was thinking ‘why can’t we use cycling to promote inter-faith dialogue and come together to do something and keep this momentum going?’. New Zealand has beautifully presented how hate can be addressed with love. If we keep doing these sorts of collective activities and bridging the connections between various faiths, eventually, there won’t be any place for hatred.”
With the help of his cycling contacts, including Canterbury DHB Health Promoter Meg Christie and Winter Solstice Ride founder, Ian Wells, the Peace Train has come together in a matter of weeks.
The ride will travel to the Buddhist Temple, Hari Krishna Temple, the Jewish Synagogue, St Mary’s Catholic Pro-Cathedral, Oxford Terrace Baptist Church, the Cardboard Cathedral and the Salvation Army Citadel.
At each site a two-minute greeting, peace message and blessing will be given by the appropriate religious leader.
Meg Christie says the event will take place ten weeks on from March 15, because research shows it is at this time, “the energy can start to disappear”.
“We hope this is a good reminder that there is still a need to come together and celebrate diversity,” says Meg Christie.
Cantabrians are invited to join the all-ages ride.
The group hope their idea, which draws on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s ‘We are One’ message, is picked up and replicated by other cities around New Zealand.
The event co-ordinators have been supported by Action Bicycle Club to get the idea off the ground.