Image: Landscape view of Christchurch NZ. (Shutterstock/Clem Hencher-Stevens)
My heart bleeds for the Muslim community of Christchurch, NZ and for all the people of that beautiful, peaceful city. Today two mosques in the city were assaulted during the Friday Jum’ah service, and at this writing, 49 people have perished and many more are in the hospital.
I deliberately chose the photo above for this article because I want to give the perpetrators no publicity, since notoriety appears to have been at least part of their motivation. Christchurch is a beautiful city on the South Island of New Zealand. I had the good fortune to visit there a few years ago, and was impressed with the peace and friendliness of the place. I offer readers a taste of its peace in this photo, as a reproach to any who would have us remember it otherwise.
What can we do to express our horror, our grief, and our solidarity?
- We can attend a service at our local masjid (mosque) in solidarity and friendship.
- We can send cards and letters of support to local mosques and Islamic Cultural Centers in our area.
- We can reach out personally to Muslim friends and acquaintences to let them know that we stand with them at this time of fear and sorrow.
- We can observe zero tolerance for anti-Muslim sentiment in our homes and workplaces as well as in our houses of worship.
- We can give tzedakah in memory of those who were murdered and address the notification to our local Islamic institution.
This is a time for all religious minorities to stand together in peace and friendship.
May the day come soon when no one need fear violence in their house of prayer.