A BALLARAT imam says the outpouring of emotion, support and flowers left at the door of his mosque are a powerful show of peace.
As people across the world grapple to come to terms with New Zealand's darkest day, people across Ballarat travelled to the city's mosque laying flowers and messages of support for the Muslim community.
Abdulkhalk Ismael said such spontaneous gestures transcend race and religion, this was about bringing people together in tough times.
The imam wept with strangers, many unsure how to best show support in the wake of the high-profile attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
Some had been uncertain where or if there was a mosque in Ballarat and, after finding Masjid Abu Bakr Siddiq tucked away in Canadian, just wanted to be there for a moment including those who arrived while The Courier was visiting.
"Four ladies came early and were crying and I cry with them too," Mr Ismael said. "Australian people of all faith share with us in difficult situations, sad situations and we want to share with them in happiness too.
"As humans, we are all the same. It''s treating people the way we would want to be treated."
This follows a similar message from Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council chief Ann Foley who said the council's work was to promote voices of respect and celebration of culture, and to "share the grief when that breaks down".
When people were unsure what to say, Mr Ismael speaks peace and encourages education to better understand other religion and cultures. This is also what he implores from Ballarat's Islamic community, including about 120 practising Muslims from a mix of nationalities.
"Some times people are looking for a dark side rather than the light," Mr Ismael said. "Killing anyone is not a religion...(The Christchurch attack ) was focusing on a few aspects in history - they search for the small points to make what they want to do okay. But this forgets the big events that define our faith."
Mr Ismael and Ballarat surgeon Ahmed Naqeeb spent the morning welcoming people to the mosque with a traditional greeting that translates to peace upon you.
Mr Naqeeb, a member of the Ballarat Islamic Society, has been flooded with messages, emails and letters from friends and colleagues in Ballarat since the shootings.
He has worked in Grafton, the small New South Wales town police have confirmed as the hometown for an alleged gunman involved in the attack. His thoughts were with that community and hospital in such a challenging time.
The response in Ballarat, he said, showed so much about the care and goodwill in the region.
"This brings us together," Mr Naqeeb said. "I like to think positive and this is bringing us together more than dividing us....The proof is in the people coming here spontaneously and crying with us when the incident is not directly related to them."
Wendouree state MP Juliana Addison was among those making an emotional visit to the Ballarat mosque.
Ms Addison said she wanted to express her deepest condolences to the Ballarat Islamic community on the terrible loss of life in the terrorist attacks in Christchurch.
"I am proud that we are a welcoming community that embraces all faiths and cultures and I was so heartened to see that a number of people had left flowers and cards at the Mosque," Ms Addison said.
"While I was there one women arrived to pay her respects as she approached the doors of the mosque, broke down in tears. Without saying a word, she then made her way back to her car. This shows to me the deep impact the Christchurch terror attack is having on our community.
"I stand with our local Muslim community and everyone who says no to hate and resentment."
This weekend is the start of City of Ballarat's cultural diversity week.
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