For one of Tamworth's newest residents, September 25 was a day of mingled sorrow and joy.
Hazara refugee Karar Hussain remembers the date as a "black day" it marks the moment when, 121 years ago, 2.4 million of his people were massacred in Afghanistan.
But September 25 also signals two years since Mr Hussain was released from detention and began his life in Australia after fleeing persecution in Pakistan.
Mr Hussain has been residing in Tamworth for three months, and though he has been struck by the kindness of friendly locals, he has also been met with surprise when he tells people he is a "boat person".
With his job as a site supervisor and account manager and his exceptional English, Mr Hussain is a sharp antidote to the insidious perception of boat people as "queue- jumpers" or "dole-bludgers" who strain Australia's resources.
"People talk about queue- jumpers. But I never saw a queue in Pakistan or a sign that said: 'If you want to save your life, please join this queue'."
There is one moment that is etched in his memory with horrifying clarity.
When he was just 15, he walked alongside his father in a religious procession. Less than a kilometre from where he stood, a blast shook the earth.
"There was open fire, and firing and firing," he said.
"The people just rushed back like a flood.
"My dad pushed me to the side to stop me being crushed by the people."
The string of attacks against Hazaras was relentless.
"It just got worse and worse."
Mr Hussain said prominent Hazara people government officials, intellectuals and police cadets were targeted and killed.
"One group stopped a bus full of people from Iran. They took everyone off and asked for their ID card," he said.
"They separated the Hazaras from all the rest. All the rest were ordered back onto the bus. The Hazaras were stood all in a line. They opened fire on them."
When Mr Hussain was himself attacked on a bus, he knew he must flee.
After finishing school, he decided to go to university and caught a bus to sit an entry test.
"The bus stopped and we were attacked with sticks and stones by men with their faces covered," he said.
"We were threatened not to take the bus, we were told not to go to uni because Pakistan was not our country.
"My parents didn't let me go to uni after that.
"In 2012, when I was in the detention centre, the same bus was attacked in a bomb blast."
It was not only the terrifying individual attacks Mr Hussain faced that forced him to leave, but the culmination of more than a century of oppression and genocide against his people. Hazaras are overwhelmingly Shiite Muslims and have Mongolian facial features, making them susceptible to religious and racial discrimination.
Though the general massacre of Hazaras in Afghanistan ended in 1893 ended, the oppression did not.
In the 1940s, they were subjected to heavy taxes from which Afghans were exempt. In 1998, the Taliban blocked vital UN food supplies to Hazaras and persecuted them, calling them "non-Muslim infidels".
"It was worse than killing. People had nothing to eat, they just died of hunger," Mr Hussain said.
More than half a million Hazaras fled to Pakistan, but the persecution continued.
Mr Hussain left Pakistan on March 9, 2012, a date he remembers clearly because school had just started.
"My sister and brother were going to school. I stopped them, I kissed them goodbye, and I left."
From Pakistan, Mr Hussain travelled to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia before boarding a boat to Australia.
He had never been on the open water before and the boat was packed with 123 people.
As an English speaker, he was tasked with calling the Australian navy to intercept them.
He then spent four months in immigration detention on Christmas Island, in Darwin and at Northam in WA.
He knew he would be placed in detention, but that was no deterrent.
"I was running for my life," he said.
"In the whole journey from Pakistan, there was only one feeling that I had nothing compared to that blast when I was 15. That was my worst nightmare.
"If you've been through so many things, the small things don't trouble you.
"My personal aim is to settle here not only to eat and to sleep, but to serve."
Mr Hussain spoke out earlier this week against the fear of Islam and his personal story is a testament to the reality that Muslims too are the victims of terrorism.
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