New Zealand Listener

AWAKENING THE SPIRIT

It seems like just months since the mosque shootings. It seems like decades.

“It is a strange in-between place,” says Abdallah Alayan, recent master’s graduate of the University of Auckland school of architecture and planning. “It is crazy to think it has almost been a year, but we are doing as well as we can. Being close to my family is really important.”

In the breezy space of Ilex Cafe in Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens, Alayan is attentive and articulate, enthusiastic about his surroundings – the building is one of his favourites in Christchurch – but cautious in holding the conversation too close to the memory of his brother.

On March 15, 2019, Alayan’s brother, Atta Elayyan, a 33-year-old software developer and goalkeeper for the Futsal Whites indoor football team, was killed while praying at the Al Noor Mosque. Alayan took four months off university to

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