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Editorial Team

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Muslim Eye | Editorial Opinion

Learning the lessons of Christchurch

A week after the Christchurch terror attack, Muslims are breathing a sigh of relief at the defeat of the last remnants of the Islamic State group. No longer can the violence of this barbaric set of people be used to justify retaliatory violence or negative attitudes towards Muslims. In many ways, the job distancing ordinary Muslims from the extreme ones has been done successful. It is now difficult to claim that ordinary Muslims and extremists are one entity.


Muslims have equipped themselves in a dignified manner throughout and since the events that unfolded at Friday prayers last week. The family and the victims have been accorded respect by the rest of the world partly because the Muslims in New Zealand have shown laudable humility in abject grief. Not one angry word was expressed about the killer, not one out of place sentence capable of being misconstrued. 


Equally, New Zealand led by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have not put a foot wrong. She has always expressed the right word at the right time. She has demonstrated compassion and empathy. For this she will forever have a special place in the hearts of Muslims.


In the aftermath of the tragedy, Muslims have called out bigotry displayed by politicians and the main stream media. Politicians have been held accountable for that climate of hate that some have perpetrated. A re-examination has taken place of media coverage and comparisons made between Muslim and White nationalist terror. In the main, a balance has been struck putting the Muslim discourse on the moral high ground.


Make no mistake unless Muslims continue to double down and openly reject the poisonous Islamic State group rhetoric; unless Muslims continue the fight to defend Islam against accusations of hatred, the gains made in recent days would have been lost.


Likewise, Muslims have to be vigilant and continue to fight back against Muslims in our ranks working to the destroy the Islamic message feeding into anti-Muslim and anti-Islam narratives.


The bottom line is we must not allow the death of 51 of our brothers and sisters to be in vain. The wider community should continue the process of soul-searching. While right wing conservatives struggle to distance themselves away from the accusation of creating a climate of fear, Muslims have to continue to point out that the non-violent extremist attitudes create the oxygen for violent extremism to surface.


Contrary to the opinion of the United States’ President, Donald Trump, Muslims should be under no illusion - white nationalism affecting Jews, Muslims and People of Colour is no small problem. The words of Jamelle Bouie, New York Times opinion columnist are poignant. He points out that the extremist dream of a white ethno-state is not too far removed from more ordinary people who defend segregated neighbourhoods and schools.


Bouie goes on: “The people who target mosques at home are channeling our disregard for Muslim lives abroad. Settler societies built on the removal and extermination of native peoples will produce ideologies that treat those actions as good, even laudatory.”


He ends on a profound conclusion “Which is just to say that as we struggle against the forces behind these decades of violence, from Oklahoma City to Christchurch, we must remember that we aren’t fighting with strangers. Instead, we are confronting the very worst of our legacy — wrestling with our own shadows.”

From the Editor


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