Laity

The horrendous carnage that took place in the Christchurch mosques last week has left people reeling. As the funerals start getting underway, and people are starting to pick up the pieces, this tragic event has brought a number of things to the forefront. In the first place, Muslims, who are perceived perpetrators of the majority of terrorist attacks, were this time the victims, in a place which is held sacred, on a day which is revered all around the world by Muslims. The sheer shock factor of these facts has been enough for many to see Muslims under a different light.

The astoundingly admirable way that Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has handled this tragedy is being widely applauded the world over, is a lesson in leadership. She has called the attack what it was: a terrorist attack, she has shown immeasurable compassion towards the families of the victims, unafraid of donning a headscarf, announced the broadcast of the adhan nationally on TV and radio to mark the one week of the attacks and has banned military-style semi-automatic guns and assault rifles.

The Christchurch attack has cleared what Muslims have been saying ever since they have been collaterally judged because of terrorist attacks by fellow Muslims: terrorism is an act of hate, that has nothing to do with religion, but a lot to do with hate and extremely narrow views. If the 87-page manifesto of the killer is anything to go by, it is on par with the hate filled propaganda videos that are shared by ISIS. But the amount of love and solidarity shown to Muslims around the world has shown that the general perception is now shifting, and seeing terrorist attacks for what they truly are and realizing that any lives lost in terrorist attacks, irrespective of perpetrator, is one precious basic human life too many.