By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age
20 March 2019
The recent hate-filled terror attack, in
which 50 Muslims praying at two mosques in the New Zeeland city of Christchurch
were killed and 50 others injured, has widened the cracks in the hearts of
peace-lovers- both Muslims and non-Muslims, around the world. The terrorist
shooter, identified as 28-year old Australian citizen Brenton Harrison Tarrant,
has been charged with murder. He was motivated by the ideology that ‘western
civilisation’ needed to be saved from a foreign invasion, as stated in a
74-page manifesto filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas. In his
manifesto, Tarrant wrote that he had “only one true inspiration: the Norwegian
political terrorist, Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011”.
It was extremely painful to watch the
brutal terror incident in which we lost our humane relatives, individuals or
community partners. However one of the simplest ways to get healing from such a
tragedy is how the global leaders and community respond to it. The wise people
say “it is better to just stay mum instead of speaking or writing
insensitively”. Different people expressed their condolences differently, while
for some it would have been better if they had obeyed this wise saying.
The Christchurch attack has been described
differently on social media as “far-right violence”, “White-supremacism”,
“white-extremism”, “mindless terrorism”, “Far-right Christian terrorism vs.
A non-Muslim writes on twitter,
“Where is the uproar in the Muslim community against the slaughter by ISIS etc
in terror attacks around the world? Nothing is ever seen except token, “we
condemn” type statements”.
(To read a number of articles refuting ideologies of ISIS and it's likes, click this link:
A Muslim initially wrote in Urdu on social
media, “49 Muslims have been killed in New Zealand but western media is not
calling it terrorism, the way they blame Islam for terrorism”. He went on to
say, “There is no uproar against Christchurch terrorism attack, like the one
took place in Paris a few years ago”.
A man with Muslim name wrote, “Islamist
extremism caused 84,000 deaths worldwide in 2017. There were a total of 7,841
attacks – an average of 21 per day – in 48 countries”.
Another Muslim wrote, “We are killed in
Syria, we are killed in Iraq, we are killed in Palestine, we are killed in
Afghanistan, we are killed in Burma and Kashmir, but still they say we are
Different people made different views- some
with typical attitude of denial, confining to their respective domain of life,
areas of information and studies.
Most prominently New Zealanders, in the
wake of Christchurch terror attack, have showed their outpouring of interfaith
solidarity and dug deep – crowd funding campaigns, donating Halal food and even
offering to chaperone the Muslims now afraid to go out on the streets. The
major role in this part was played by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden,
who was seen wearing a ‘Dupatta’ and visiting families of the victims. She
received appreciation from a large number of Muslims on social media- with some
referring to as “an example of great and just leadership in this century”.
According to reports, the nationalities of
the victims included Indian, Pakistani, Malaysian, Indonesian, Egyptian,
Bangladeshi, Saudi, Somalian and Turkish. One Indian that I know is a Barelvi
Sufi Cleric and a graduate of Manzar-e-Islam Bareilly, Maulana Musa Patel. He
was invited to make a speech in Al-Noor mosque but was killed unfortunately.
A very positive message came from an Imam,
Ibrahim Abdul Halim, who was leading prayers at the Linwood Mosque of
Christchurch when a terrorist, brandishing semi-automatic weapons, mowed down
his congregation. He said that Muslim community’s love for New Zealand would
not be shaken by the massacre. Vowing that extremists would “never ever touch
our confidence”, the Imam said, “We still love this country”. He said the
majority of New Zealanders “are very keen to support all of us, to give us full
solidarity”, describing how strangers exchanged hugs with him on Saturday.
“They start to... give me big hug, and give me more solidarity. This is
something very important” he said.
Not only the common people even the global
leaders strongly condemned this act of terrorism. Here are some brief reports as
compiled by newageislam.com.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
said some of the victims may have been new immigrants or refugees. “They are
us,” she said. “The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.
They have no place in New Zealand.” She termed it ‘an act of terrorism’.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said
the attack brought back memories of the 2011 attack by anti-Muslim extremist
Anders Breivik that killed 77 people: “It shows that extremism is nurtured and
that it lives in many places.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
said an Australian national arrested after the attack was an “extremist,
right-wing violent terrorist”.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, who is New
Zealand’s head of state, said she was “deeply saddened by the appalling
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote
on social media, “I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current
Islamophobia post-9/11 (where) 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been
blamed for any act of terror”.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
condemned the deadly attack on two mosques in New Zealand, saying, “With this
attack, hostility towards Islam, that the world has been idly watching and even
encouraging for some time, has gone beyond individual harassment to reach the
level of mass killing”.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman tweeted, “The
heinous massacre that targeted worshippers in the mosque in New Zealand is a
terrorist act, and it reaffirms the responsibility of the international
community in combating hate speech and terrorism that is not condoned by
religions or the values of tolerance.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
tweeted, “Not only the perpetrators, but also politicians and media that fuel
the already escalated Islamophobia and hate in the West are equally responsible
for this heinous attack”.
According to report of Iran’s state news
agency IRNA, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for an
emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world’s
largest Muslim body, to discuss this “horrible crime”
Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian chief peace
negotiator, described the attack a “consequence of racist ideologies that
continue trying to promote religious wars”.
Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old
seat of Sunni Islamic learning, called the attack “a dangerous indicator of the
dire consequences of escalating hate speech, xenophobia and the spread of
A spokesman of United Nations
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “The urgency of working better together
globally to counter Islamophobia and eliminate intolerance and violent
extremism in all its forms”.
German Chancellor Merkel mourned “with the
New Zealanders for their fellow citizens who were attacked and murdered out of
racist hatred while peacefully praying in their mosques”. Her foreign minister,
Heiko Maas, said: “When people are murdered solely because of their religion,
this is an attack on us all.”
Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of
London, said Londoners stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of
Christchurch. He also pointed his finger at those who promote religious hatred.
“When the flames of hatred are fanned, when people are demonised because of
their faith, when people’s fears are played on rather than addressed, the
consequences are deadly, as we have seen so sadly today,” he said.
The director of Islamic Centre of
Washington D.C, Abdullah Khouj, delivered his speech, calling for peace and
condemning violence and hate. He recited a well-known verse from the Quran,
“Whoever kills a person, unless in retribution
for murder or spreading corruption in the land, it is as if he kills all
mankind, while if anyone saves a life it is as if he saves the lives of all
US President Donald Trump tweeted “My
warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after
the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly
died, with so many more seriously injured. The US stands by New Zealand for
anything we can do. God bless all!”
Pope Francis Deplored The “Senseless
Acts Of Violence”.
Among all different news of condemnations,
a very strange thing happened that an Australian politician was egged after
blaming New Zeeland terror attack on Muslims. Minister of Economic Affairs
Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali also condemned it saying, “Australian Senator
Fraser Anning’s statement blaming the mass shootings in Christchurch on
immigration and Islam is utterly contemptible and illogical”.
Mr. Molly Pascal, a member of the Tree of
Life synagogue and resident of Pittsburgh, penned an article titled “Muslims
Embraced Us Jews When We Were Slain At Worship. Now We Must Support Them”
published on The Washington Post. He writes, “When I saw the news from New
Zealand Friday, the cracks in my heart widened. Another act of terrorism.
Another act of hate. I know something of what the Christchurch community is
going through because less than five months ago, my community went through
something similar. On Oct. 27, a terrorist murdered 11 members of my synagogue in
Pittsburgh”. (Newageislam.com has published couples of worth reading columns
related to NZ attack)
If we Muslims ponder over different
opinions with regard to the NZ terror attack, we may come across so many
questions. Why do we Muslims not respond to “Jihadist attacks” in more number
than the non-Muslims including white people have done to “white-supremacist
attacks”? Why do we not take it seriously when our fellow citizens are
regularly killed by ISIS and its likes in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other parts of
the Muslim countries? Is it enough for us to express merely words of
condemnation and describe the radical jihadist groups as Kharijites and do
nothing more than that?
the Muslim scholars not need to reclaim spiritual message of Islam to defeat
the modern radical narratives emanating from the wrong interpretation of
Islamic books? Is it enough for us to issue some anti-terror Fatwas, while the
‘jihadist extremists’ repeatedly issue their propaganda, every time with slight
changing and new tricks? Why is it that
the hate is growing against Muslims? Is it because of our attitude or
misinterpretation of Islamic books or something else? We Muslims should do
introspect ourselves. Where is our Taqwa? Where is our faith which asks us to
be honest, patient, truth-seekers and peace-lovers? How can we ensure the world
that Islam prefers peace while our Muslim brothers fight with one another- for
example, in Muslim countries? How can we all global community succeed to stop
‘white-extremism and ‘jihadist extremism’? How can we correct the mindset which
fails to retain balance, creates hate against Muslims and non-Muslims and
incites havoc and tragedy? It is time we all should cooperate with each other
and introspect so as to develop healthy and peaceful global relationship.
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is
an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and
English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in
Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic
Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in
Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In
Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women
in West, Islam Women and Feminism