The story we’re bringing you today grows on top of the tragic incident that took place on 15th March, 2019. An incident that shook the whole world to its core. A tragedy that made a peaceful country like New Zealand tremble like no other.
Today’s story involves a 22 year old woman, named Meghan Lovelady, whose life including many others completely changed after the tragic incident of 15th march.
People from all over the country, especially from Christchurch, joined the funeral prayers of the martyrs after the incident. Even the people who weren’t Muslims, joined the Muslims and stood in solidarity with their families during those tough times.
Meghan Lovelady, who was a non-Muslim at that time, happened to come across such a gathering one of those days and heard the Imam lead the prayer. She heard him recite Surah Fatiha. She couldn’t understand a word but given the situation of the Christchurch incident and the sensitization that followed, she couldn’t hold her tears.
“I didn’t know how to pray but I wanted to join them. I just stood there, listening to the Imam recite Surah Fatiha and I kept crying.” Said Meghan.
Here’s a background about Meghan’s life in her own words:
“I was born in America and I moved to New Zealand with my family when I was 7 years old. I was never a person of faith. I was a Christian. I got a surge of religiousness around the age of 15-16. However, it didn’t stick for too long. Being a Christian didn’t work well with me.”
“Moving forward, when I was 17 years old, my boyfriend got hit by a train in front of my eyes. I was devastated. This incident was absolute destruction for my mind, heart, and soul. I could not believe this had happened to me.
I thought, if there was a God, how could he let something like this happen to me or anyone. This incident pushed me further away from faith and religion. My life turned upside down. Nothing made sense anymore.”
It has been reported that after the Christchurch tragedy, so many people from New Zealand converted. Rough statistics stated that almost 5-6 people would come to the mosque on daily basis and accept Islam. Many mosques throughout the country reported similar statistics.
In addition to the converts, many other non-Muslims were also visiting the mosques on regular basis just to learn about Islam.
Meghan Lovelady, soon after the incident, started visiting the same mosque in Christchurch.
“I would get off from work and walk to the mosque. I would sit there and stay there till night time. I learned how to pray. I would just talk to people and learn about Islam. It became my routine. It had been so long that I was trying to find peace and answers for what had happened with me.” Said Meghan.
Meghan cried multiple times during this interview to a New Zealand—based blog. She was crying while she shared that, “I found a community here. I found a community here that gave me peace and answers to so many questions I was looking for. After the accident, I could not understand anything. But, now I do. I’m so much better than I was.”
Meghan soon accepted Islam and tried opting for a headscarf for a while. “I tried it on for two weeks in the beginning and I loved it. I was comfortable and I did not want to take it off. My friends asked me, oh are you oppressed by these people. Have you been forced into it? And I told them no. I put it on, it felt right, and that’s why I haven’t taken it off.”
Sister Meghan Lovelady’s story serves as a reflection of many such stories that came forward after the incident. Many people who related to the victim’s families’ experience came forward and shared their stories with them.
Muslims grow up with a remembrance that goes like, “We belong to Allah and to him we shall return.” Many practicing Muslims make it their life’s ambition to always be ready for returning to their creator. We believe that it was the patience of victims’ families that has served as a source of inspiration for many new converts.
It is the resilience of New Zealand’s public, both Muslims and Non-Muslims, and their governments’ that the Kiwis were able to face such a devastating setback with truth. We wish patience and rewards for the victims’ families. May Allah grant Sister Meghan with more wisdom and peace. May Allah help us become better Muslims and make our afterlife easier! Ameen.