Early on Friday afternoon our country and city were broken apart. New Zealanders attending prayers at the Linwood Islamic Centre and at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch were attacked in ways that are indescribable. The MCC community in Christchurch remains devastated and shocked by the loss of their 49 neighbours. The victims, many who came to Christchurch to escape oppression and violence in their homelands, should have found a safe place to grow old.
We have wonderful interfaith dialogue and interactions here in New Zealand. It is not unknown or unusual to worship as one people. We share a common heart, and soul. Yet, this terror attack should force us all to recognise that violence, racism and white supremacy are also part of our community. We need to ask ourselves, what is our part in all of this?
As we prayerfully search for the answers, the priority is to care for those hurting. Let them know they are loved, to help them grieve the loss. Then we need to put our love and prayers into action. How do we make New Zealand, our world, safe for all?
We take heart in the fact our government has vowed to strengthen our guns laws in response. On an individual level, as followers of Jesus, we need to support any policy or organisation that protects minorities and works towards peace, any action that helps us to love and care for our neighbours better.
Imam Mustenser Qamar, friend of Church in Progress MCC, urges us to “always keep in mind our commonalities and focus on the humanity. Despite differences in belief we can all get together and unite against all forms of hate. Unite with love. Spread and act upon the message of ‘Love for All Hatred for None’”
Let’s stop spreading hate by challenging those people who speak against others just because of who they are. Bring love by smiles, hugs, kind words and deeds. It is not enough to just cry and feel the pain and hurt. Love is an action. Love is more powerful. Love will win. Compassion will win. We will overcome this and our love for all people will be stronger than others hate.
Kia Kaha Aotearoa
A joint statement pepared by Neil Hellewell, Co-Pastoral Leader, Oasis Lite Christchurch and Rev Emily Worman, Pastoral Leader, Church in Progress MCC, South Auckland
Other ways to show your solidarity, take action and pray:
Donate on ‘Launchgood’, this initiative is supported by a variety of New Zealand based Muslim organisations. The money will help to pay for a variety of things, including funeral expenses, which is the most immediate and pressing need for many families.
Join the online prayers facilitated by Church in Progress MCC – 8pm Sunday NZ Time – https://www.facebook.com/events/1413775768758854/
Find a vigil in your town and show your support.
Visit your local mosque and make friends.
Join a local peace group.
Write to your political representative about gun reform