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Expert comment - a defined and dignified historic response

AbdullahReflecting on the decision to broadcast the Adhan - the call to prayer - to the whole New Zealand nation on Friday, Dr Abdullan Sahin, Reader in Islamic Education at the University of Warwick, writes:-

"It has been just over a week since the deadly terrorist attack on twin mosques of al Noor and Linwood in Christchurch, New Zealand. 50 innocent souls were slayed in worship and dozens more have been injured by a white supremacist fanatic aiming to divide communities through the spreading of fear and hatred.

"The tragic event signifies how anti-Islam/Muslim sentiments, often legitimized in the press, social media and increasingly encouraged by the nationalistic populist far right politicians, have reached a critical level inspiring violence and threatening peace in Western societies.

"The defined and dignified response of the people of New Zealand, led by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has shown the world that compassion and empathy, springing from our shared humanity, can conquer fear, prejudice, hatred and indeed terror.

"On Friday, the Muslim call to prayer, Adhan, for the weekly congressional prayer, was broadcast live on television and radio across the country, relayed from outside of the Christchurch mosque where most of the 50 victims perished. New Zealanders poured into the mosque to be with their fellow Muslim compatriots in this time of profound grief.

"Ms Ardern led the national mourning by standing in the midst of her deeply pained Muslim people and shared the poignant words of the prophet Muhammad reminding us all that humanity in mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain. She has started the process of healing and reconciliation.

"It is through such genuine acts of solidarity that the values of mutual trust, respect for difference and a shared sense of belonging within our increasingly plural world can be nurtured. This generosity of spirit enables us to reach out to one another and stand firm against all forms of hatred, prejudice and extremism."

25 March 2019







Sheila Kiggins

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