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An Instagram Page Held A Competition To Meet The Families Of Those Killed In The Christchurch Attack

The competition was announced to celebrate the page reaching 300,000 followers.

Posted on April 5, 2019, at 10:58 a.m. ET

On Thursday, a Muslim-focused Instagram account announced a competition to win a free trip to New Zealand to meet with the families of the victims of its recent attack, as well as visit mosques.

Instagram: @muslimsoftheworld1

The giveaway was posted on the @muslimsoftheworld1 account, which describes itself as “a platform designed to give a voice to Muslims around the world,” according to the account’s Facebook page, to celebrate the account reaching 300,000 followers.

As part of the giveaway, the account asked followers to tag three people in the comments and follow the account’s founder, Sajjad Shah, author Khaled Beydoun, and scholar and imam Suhaib Webb, who would all accompany the winner on the trip.

The full Instagram caption read:

~~ Rules below!

Day #1 MOTW 300K+ GIVEAWAY: win a FREE TRIP to New Zealand to meet the families of the victims as well as visit the masjids with @suhaib.webb @khaledbeydoun and @sajjad12345. Must tag three people in the comments below and follow @suhaib.webb @khaledbeydoun and @sajjad12345 the winner will be chosen in ten days and announced on @sajjad12345 page! Good luck! #muslimsoftheworld1

People immediately thought it was incredibly insensitive.

The daughter of a victim who was killed in the terrorist attack in Christchurch also left a comment. “I don’t know who you think you are but you and your idiot friends are not welcome to come here and look at us like some animals in a zoo,” she wrote.


The backlash continued on Twitter.

This is, no exaggeration, the worst idea I have ever seen. Tag 3 friends to win a trip to meet the New Zealand victims families and tour the Masjids where the shootings happened?! Bruhhh wtf

My personal thoughts on the Muslims of the world “giveaway.” I am actually so blown away by this. A free trip to New Zealand, I cannot deal with this.

cannot believe ~muslimsoftheworld~ is doing a giveaway ticket to new zealand for instagram clout ???

And another victim’s family member said they were infuriated.

@MuslimMatters @ImamSuhaibWebb My dear father was one of shaheed. We appreciate the sencere Muslims who came to grief with us in the first few weeks but we don't need this. I can't even express how much this infuriates me. Disgusting and unnecessary.

The post was later deleted without any explanation. The account then went on to upload an unrelated post, but that was also deleted.

However MOTW (Muslims of the word) should apologize as well instead of just removing the giveaway post, as comments on a new post there are rightfully pointing out.

On Thursday night, the group posted an apology on Instagram but disabled comments on the post.

You can read the full apology here:

Salam Alaikum, we at @muslimsoftheworld1 want to sincerely apologize to the families and the victims of the New Zealand massacre for yesterday’s post. Our intention was to visit New Zealand in hopes of being agents of healing and community. However, Our wording was insensitive and we take full ownership of it. We apologize for our offensive post and ask for your forgiveness, we are trying our best to bring goodness in this world and we did make a serious mistake. The criticism for the insensitivity is spot on, we are a very young team and have lots to learn. Apologize once again. We are willing to learn and grow from people and appreciate the people who have reached out to us and gave us sincere advice.

However, some people were still very disappointed...

...and are calling for a boycott of the page.

When BuzzFeed News reached out to Sajjad Shah for comment about the giveaway and subsequent apology, he told BuzzFeed News that our information was incorrect. “Please do not spread wrong information,” he wrote via email.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.