NZ Shootings Tell Us That World Needs To Learn What Islam Stands For
The terrorist attack in Christchurch on March 15 needs no introduction; 50 Muslims died from such a tragic event. Much has been said on the cause of the tragedy; some have blamed it on White supremacism and others relate it with the religion of Islam.
The agenda as written in “The Great Replacement” manifesto are to bring environmental justice and social harmony to society. It aims at upholding workers’ rights, a responsible market and an addiction-free community and also calls for anti-imperialism, ethnic autonomy and protection of heritage and culture.
But the question is: Why did it end up with the mass killings of innocent and harmless worshippers in mosques? How could such an attitude and brutality against Muslims be justified?
It is mentioned that Muslims would not be killed if they stayed in their homeland. The targeted victims were Muslims who had migrated to the European lands and likewise, the White people or Europeans who had become Muslim reverts. These Muslims are labelled as “invaders” and “traitors”.
Unlike the Europeans, Muslim groups are to be held responsible for the world’s overpopulation and the negative impact it has on the environment. Hence, killing these “invaders” who are currently overpopulating the world and occupying the Europeans lands is part of the solutions to save the environment.
Indeed, there are a few things we can learn from the Christchurch attacks. First and foremost, it is very clear that the concept of Islam as an organised religion is still being misunderstood by many. To some extent, the media has not played the roles to bring the truth and project the right image and understanding of Islam.
Islam has been portrayed negatively by the media for obvious reasons—readership and profit. The news and constant exposure have reached to a point where the public fail to differentiate between Islam and Muslim.
Ideally, Muslims would be the lens for anyone to understand what Islam is, as they represent the identity to the Islamic teachings and values. But one needs to understand that as ordinary human beings, Muslims are subject to all forms of weaknesses, such as the individual ego, prejudice and lack of commitment to fully embrace Islamic rites and values. In other words, any Muslim may live with imperfections or even a bogus Islamic identity.
On the other hand, there are many non-Muslims who live their lives in line with Islamic values. A study has shown that most Muslim majority countries did not conduct their governance, legal, political, social, financial and economic affairs according to Islamic principles. Instead, it has revealed that many non-Muslim majority countries were more ‘Islamic’, with New Zealand and Luxembourg ranked the top of the list.
In sum, Muslims are those who confess that they believe in Islam. However, the universal Islamic values can be practised by all, regardless whether one is a Muslim or non-Muslim.
The next thing to ponder is whether the presence of Muslim societies is a threat to the world? The data by Pew Research estimated that there were around 23% of Muslim population in 2010 and it was projected that the number would continue to increase to 30% globally in 2050. Hence, it is very unlikely that non-Muslims will be outnumbered by Muslims in the next few decades.
Even if Muslim families continue to grow as the biggest population on earth, there is no compelling reason for them to be a threat to non-Muslims. Islam has made it clear that there is no compulsion in religion (Quran 2:256), diversity means to learn from each other (Quran 49:13) and “All mankind is from Adam and Eve; an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a White has no superiority over a Black nor a Black has any superiority over a White—except by piety and good action” (The final sermon of Prophet Muhammad SAW).
On the journey of truth-seeking and soul-searching process, a number of White people have found their inner peace with Islam. Some struggling Muslims have migrated to other countries either as refugees or by taking up new job opportunities. It is disheartening to see them living in fear just because of their religious identity. Islam after all, puts high values on the family, holistic community as well as natural environment.
The best lesson from this Christchurch massacre is for the world to understand who Muslims are and what Islam really stands for. In addition, the ecofascists also have to realise that environmental sustainability is incomplete without human solidarity and spirituality. Let us find ways to bring back unity in diversity; not social disunity and spiritual displacement.
Finally, thanks to the Kiwis and Maoris for showing the world that Muslims are still welcomed as part of their community in the Aotearoa land. Salaam (peace) to everyone.