March 15, 2019, will be forever remembered as a day of contrasts. In 130 countries worldwide, including Ireland, one and a half million school children took to the streets to demand urgent action from their Governments in tackling Climate Change.
Their inspiring stance, however, was overshadowed by the callous slaughter of some 50 Muslim worshipers in two mosques in tranquil New Zealand, by a white supremist from Australia, claiming part Irish ancestry. A number of victims were refugees seeking asylum and peace from war ravaged countries.
The Irish Province of the SMA sent condolences through New Zealand Cardinal, John Dew, a good friend of the SMA since he spoke at the SMA interfaith gathering in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, and visited our exhibition in the RDS last August, during the World Meeting of Families. Our message stated:
“We are devastated by the news coming out of New Zealand and we are ashamed that the main perpetrator boasted part Irish ancestry.
Please accept our sincere condolences and know that we are united with you in our prayers and determination to build a world where we celebrate diversity and our common humanity and home.
With much love and solidarity in this, New Zealand’s darkest hour…”
Less than two hours later Cardinal John responded:
“Thank you so much for your email and for your message of condolence at this very sad and tragic time. It is really hard to believe that it has happened here, and on such a horrendous scale.
Thank you for your prayers and support, for your love and solidarity at this time of sadness and deep struggle for everyone here in New Zealand
Love and blessings,
Following the Massacre the Huffington Post carried an insightful article that argued that the New Zealand massacre shows the problem of Islamophobia is getting worse, as anti-Muslim rhetoric has emboldened extremists across the globe.
The article begins:
“On Friday, a mass shooter stormed two mosques and killed at least 50 people in an unprecedented terrorist attack in New Zealand. The alleged shooter, identified as 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant, was charged with one count of murder in a court appearance where he flashed what appears to be a white power sign. Prior to the attack, Tarrant had posted a manifesto online that detailed his hatred for Muslims, claimed inspiration from British fascist Oswald Mosley and Norwegian murderer Anders Breivik, among others, and cited U.S. President Donald Trump as a “renewed symbol of white identity.”
The deadly attack brings into harsh light the global nature of the alarming rise in Islamophobia. In countries around the world, anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies have become dangerously normalized ― in institutions, politics, media, and everyday life. Violent and lethal assaults like the Christchurch shooting are but one consequence; Muslims face daily acts of discrimination, bias and threats.”
This is truly shocking and worrying and as Christians we are called to reach out in love to our Muslim brothers and sisters. We invite you to read all of the Huffington Post article, after which we invite you to pray for respect and harmony amongst all religions of the world.
To read the Huffington Post article, please click here.