In the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks on March 15th 2019, there were many families whose lives were irrevocably changed. Included in this number is Farid Ahmed, husband of the indomitable Husna who was a casualty of the attack at the Al Noor mosque. This is his tribute to her: the story of her life, one of dedication and service to the Muslim community, from her upbringing in Bangladesh to life as a wife and mother in New Zealand.
Written with humility and focused on peace and forgiveness, this is a heartfelt testimony to a courageous and selfless woman. [Larger font]
Though we all admired Farid for his practical application of Islamic teaching, many of us felt the book was let down by poor editing. Too long, too repetitive, and too syrupy in his description of Husna, were common comments. Many of us appreciated knowing more about Islamic thinking and practices. Some of us were fascinated to understand how he forgave so quickly and what his reasoning and philosophy were. It was great to get more background on what was a profound moment in NZ's history, and how Farid and NZ'ers response moved and inspired the world.
An emotional, moving story of love, forgiveness and faith. A little repetitive and sermon-like at times, but such an interesting insight into faith.
A powerful insight into the teachings of Islam, and the healing strength of love and forgiveness. Every New Zealander should read this book.
The majority of the group found the book - and particularly the author - inspiring. The message of love and forgiveness was clear. Others found the writing repetitive and sermon like.
A compelling read, but generally felt to be a bit long, and to Western minds rather "precious" in places. However, we all acknowledge Husna and Farid as a lovely couple, and there were great descriptions of a far more open and accepting religion than that normally portrayed in the West. No one could understand the killer.
Our group felt it was good that we read this book and its first hand perspective, but it was very repetitive, showing the author's devotion to, and admiration of, his wife. Tolerance and the message of peace were the dominant and positive aspects.
Not all of our group read this book. It was interesting to read a first hand account of this tragic event. The author obviously loved his wife and his writing was a way to help him process his grief. His response of forgiveness to such a massive tragedy was amazing.
It was an inspirational commentary on our need for love towards our fellow men in the violence of our present world. Feedback from the group was very positive, and all were very moved by how courageous Farid and his fellow mosque members were all through this book. Farid had a generous and simple faith which he and his beloved wife practised daily, living their highest ideals in their adopted country. The book was an inspiration and hopefully will make a difference in our attitude to our fellow men, of whatever culture or religion.
Hopefully this has been cathartic for both Farid and Shifa, but worry that it has been written too soon. No doubt Farid discussed his writing of the book with Shifa, and their amazing faith has helped them accept the loss of Husna. A thought provoking read with real lessons for humanity.
We all enjoyed 'Husna's Story' and learned a lot about Islam. It was well-written and easy to read. Discussion included how they managed to support themselves after the accident, Husna's motivation for her selfless contribution to her community, and how religion helped the couple bear their suffering. We felt some editing could have eliminated repetition in the closing part of the author's explanations.
The group unanimously would recommend the book to others. Discussion was robust, particularly the discrimination question. The reasons for the positive opinions were varied, ranging from emotional response to being informative.
Great book to discuss - topics ranging from being judgemental, racism, Muslim immigration, arranged marriages and religion. A story of triumph of love over hate. Beautiful tribute by the author to his wife.
We found the book topical but lengthy - did appreciate the comments from her community at the rear of the book.