"I would love to meet him. I want to shake his hand and hug him."Ghulam Khanyari
A SIMPLE gesture from a Warrnambool resident brought members of the city's Muslim community to tears.
And now they want to find him and thank him for his kindness.
Warrnambool Islamic Society leader Ghulam Khanyari said his wife Amina was teaching children at the city's Musalla on Saturday morning.
The community was mourning the loss of dozens of lives after Australian man Brenton Tarrant was charged following the horrific shooting at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch in New Zealand.
"It is very sad," Mr Khanyari said.
"People come from Syria and other parts of the world to save themselves and think they are going to be safe but if this can happen in New Zealand, it can happen anywhere."
Mr Khanyari said his wife told him about a simple but poignant gesture at the Musalla.
"A man came into the Musalla and said 'I'm sorry for what happened in New Zealand'," Mr Khanyari said.
"He said 'I'm very sorry - this didn't just happen to you, it happened to all of us'."
Mr Khanyari said he and his wife wanted to meet the man to thank him for his kindness.
"He has touched our hearts and souls - he must be an angel," Mr Khanyari said.
"I would love to meet him. I want to shake his hand and hug him."
Mr Khanyari said it was sad his religion was misunderstood by some people.
"Our religion is very peaceful but people misunderstand it," he said.
Mr Khanyari said it was a sad state of affairs when people couldn't feel safe in a place of prayer.
"It is supposed to be the safest place - it is a place of god - it doesn't matter what religion," he said.
Mr Khanyari said he was grateful for the residents who had laid flowers on Warrnambool's Civic Green as a tribute to those slain in the massacre.
"It's great people have put bunches of flowers in support at this sad time," he said.
Mr Khanyari said members of the public were welcome to pray alongside members of the city's Muslim community at the Musalla in Dickson Street.
"Everyone is welcome - it is a place of worship," he said.
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