Face of the day

We are very saddened by the tragic loss of New Zealand citizen Dr Hashem Slaimankhel in a suicide bomb in Afghanistan. Hashem, a respected member of the Muslim community and broader society, was a friend of the Jewish community. He visited the Auckland Hebrew Congregation twice in 2016. On his first visit, as part of an interfaith programme, he asked if he and his fellow visitors could pray before the Holocaust memorial to honour the victims, and showed great interest in the synagogue.

On the second visit, he joined with members of the community in dancing enthusiastically to celebrate the dedication of the new Torah. All who spoke to him remember him as a gentle, warm and respectful soul. He fled in 1989 as a refugee from the horrors of Afghanistan, and made a very productive life for himself in New Zealand, for which he was most grateful. He worked in the health sector and did much voluntary work, chairing the Umma Trust, a social service for Muslim women, children and families, as well as in interfaith initiatives and refugee resettlement.

We honour Hashem, who should be an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts are with his family and community.

-Shalom Kiwi

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