By Misbahu L. Hamza
Christchurch City marks a week since mosques attacks which claimed 50 lives and injured dozens. The country has proved to be exemplary to the Muslim and non-Muslim nations on how to respond to acts of violence and terrorism attacks.
New Zealanders, men and women, students and even gang bikers come together in solidarity with the Muslim community, offering memorial flowers, defending their houses and places of worship and are raising funds nationwide to assists the affected families. Non-Muslim women were spotted at the Friday prayer ground wearing headscarf as the whole country observed 2-minutes silence, united in grieve, mourning with the Muslim community today.
The far-right white nationalist terrorist, Brenton Tarrant sent an email containing his manifesto to the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern 9-minutes before the attack. In it, he identified two people as his models and motivation; not Osama Bn Laden of Al-Qaeda or Abubakar Al-Baghdadi of ISIS, but the Norwegian Anders Breivik and America’s President Donald J. Trump. We know Breivik as that white supremacist who joyously killed 77 people in Norway in 2011 and Trump for his hate rhetoric against Muslims and Immigrants during his campaigns.
When Donald Trump called the Prime Minister for condolence and asked “what offer or support can the United States provide?” Jacinda Ardern simple but embolden message was all we need is “sympathy and love for all Muslim communities!”
Her emotional gestures; been the first world leader to call the attack “Terrorim”, wearing the Muslim veil to comfort families of the victims, opening a press and parliamentary session with the Muslim greeting ‘Salamu alaikum’ (peace be upon you) and reciting comforting verses from the Qur’an (Muslims Noble Book), arresting the perpetrator 21-minutes after the killing and putting him behind bar, the Prime Minister captured her nation’s mood and the respect of Muslims around the world. She announced the tightening of her country’s liberal gun control laws to ban all military-styled weapons in less than a week.
The message in her speeches across the county; to the Muslim community, upon visiting the affected families, to the parliament and the press, focuses more on peace, empathy and compassion. It has so far sparked conversations and debates on radicalization and deradicalization all over the globe. It reminds the American tech giants – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – of their responsibility; to think about the images and other contents that’s being stream on their platforms and the way such contents allow radicalized people connect or people to become radicalized. It challenged influencers across the globe, particularly politicians to be wary of hate rhetoric.
One thing that is evident in the whole of this, is that the action of Brenton Harris Tarrant has proved to the world that terrorism isn’t the monopoly of any religion. That the long-term indoctrination of some non-Muslims mind with the definition of terrorism as a trade mark of the religion of Islam is nothing but hate and lies traded by the enemies of peace world over. His action has proved that and made Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern a heroine among world leaders that needed to be emulated.
May the soul of those victims continue to rest in peace and may peace and peace lovers prevail over violence and its sympathizers.
Misbahu L. Hamza writes in from Kano, Nigeria