12 October 2003, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Exactly a year ago, three bombs exploded on this beautiful peaceful island of God. Two-hundred-and-two men and women perished that evening. Never mind their nationalities. Never mind their race, religion, ethnicity or profession. They were our sons, our daughters, our fathers, our mothers, brothers and sisters, cousins, best friends, soul mates. And they were all innocents.
They all had happy plans to spend 'tomorrow' under the sun. They all had families.
But all were rudely taken from us by terrorists who wanted to make a senseless demonstration of their hatred for others.
To this day, we still do not understand why these loved ones had to meet such a tragic, undeserved fate. Many of us had been lost trying to search for answers and meaning to this nightmare.
But there is a time for shock and disbelief. There is a time for justice, a time for reflection, for remembrance. But there is a time to let go and to move on.
We let go knowing that we will miss them forever, and knowing that our lives will never be the same without the realness and sweetness of their physical presence in our daily lives.
We let go knowing that we will honour their memory by becoming a better person, by cherishing life even more, by striving to be happy, and by always promoting goodness over evil.
And we let go by promising them the best kind of justice of all we shall ensure that the noble values the terrorists hope to destroy will always remain dear to our hearts, and will bind all of us here even closer as a grand family of nations and peoples.
What are these values? Freedom. Religiosity. Tolerance. Diversity. Unity. Democracy. Compassion. Fraternity. And humanity.
These are the core values that define our civilised ways of life. These are the values that no terrorist bombs can ever take away from us.
It is only fitting that, as a Muslim, I should end with a verse from the Koran:
"Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom."