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Thoughts after terrorist attack on Muslims at worship
Sunday 17th March 2019 @ 10:12 am

The horrific attack on worshipping Muslims in New Zealand has rightly caused the outrage and consternation it deserves. Sadly, it does not stand alone as an act of violence toward religious worshippers. Persecution of Christians is on the rise with over 3000 Christians killed worldwide in both 2017 & 2018, antisemitism is on the rise with 13 Jews murdered in 2018, with Britain recording it’s highest number of antisemitic attacks in decades (more than 1200) in the same year. 

I deliberately only mention the Abrahamic faiths – I am sure there are many other adherents to religion that are seeing similar realities. I concentrate on the Abrahamic faiths because we are connected, because we have Abraham deep in our mythologies, and because too often in history, and still today, it has been the faiths formed from Abraham that have been the cause of deep violence and hatred toward each other. Not one of our faiths has clean hands. Throughout history, Christians Jews and Muslims have murdered Christians Jews and Muslims for being Christian, Jewish or Muslim. Three religions, with the most to gain from standing in solidarity with each other, have too often been the cause of suffering upon each other. 

Our time in history is brief – what we do with the few short years we have is very much our choice.

Former Chief Rabbi in UK, Jonathan Sacks has written the following:

“Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love and practised cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. When this happens, God speaks, sometimes in a still, small voice almost inaudible beneath the clamour of those claiming to speak on his behalf. What he says at such times is: Not in My Name.”



The words below were written by a Muslim, Jinghan Naan, on Facebook yesterday, and they strike me as a response that deserves to be heard around the world. By sharing it with you I clearly state my small choice to honour those who only met for worship, but found themselves staring into the abyss of hell on earth. In doing so I pray from my faith tradition that violence will cease and Peace may prevail. 


Through the pain of Christchurch, Jinghan brings remarkable hope.


“Appreciate that you made the effort to find out the timing of our noon prayer.

Appreciate that you learnt more about our religion to know that Fridays are the days the men go to the Mosques for their congregational prayers.

But I guess there were some things you, rather unfortunately, didn’t get to learn.

Perhaps you didn’t know that what you did made them Martyrs.

And how you have single–handedly raised the statuses of our brothers and sisters in the eyes of their beloved Creator with your actions. And how, through your actions, they will be raised as the most righteous and pious of Muslims.

Perhaps you didn’t know that doing what you did, at the time and place you chose, it actually meant that the last words that escaped their lips were probably words of remembrance and praise of Allah. Which is a noble end many Muslims could only dream of.

And perhaps you didn’t know, but what you did would almost guarantee them paradise.

Appreciate that you showed the world how Muslims welcome, with open arms, even people like yourself into our Mosques, which is our second home.

Appreciate you for showing that our mosques have no locks or gates, and are unguarded because everyone and anyone is welcome to be with us.

Appreciate you for allowing the world to see the powerful image of a man you injured, lying on back on the stretcher with his index finger raised high, as a declaration of his faith and complete trust in Allah.

Appreciate how you brought the Churches and communities together to stand with us Muslims.

Appreciate that you made countless New Zealanders come out of their homes to visit the mosques nearest to them with flowers and beautiful messages of peace and love.

You have broken many many hearts and you have made the world weep. You have left a huge void.

But what you also have done have brought us closer together. And it has strengthened our faith and resolve.

In the coming weeks, more people will turn up in the Mosques, a place you hate so much, fortified by the strength in their faith, and inspired by their fallen brothers and sisters.

In the coming weeks, more non Muslims will turn up at the gates of mosques with fresh flowers and beautifully handwritten notes. They may not have known where the mosques in their area was. But now, they do. All because of you.

You may have achieved your aim of intended destruction, but I guess you failed to incite hatred, fear and despair in all of us.

And while I understand that it may have been your objective, I hate to say that after all of that elaborate planning, and the perverse and wretched efforts on your part, you still failed to drive a divide among the the Muslims and non–Muslims in the world.

For that, I can’t say that I’m sorry.”


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