The Christchurch Terror Attacks
Living in New Zealand, we didn’t really think we’d be touched by terrorism, but touched we were. The despicable act of a lone extreme right-wing terrorist who took the lives of 51 Islamic New Zealanders had repercussions right around the country.
As an aside, this is a link to an interview by Radio NZ re why people come to hold such extreme views and is worth a listen: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018695720/deeyah-khan-up-close-and-personal-with-extremists
Some years ago, the original Auckland Study group learnt the Morontia Motas by heart and over the years they pop into my mind when they seem to fit the situation. While I watched the aftermath of this horrendous and cowardly attack, the following Morontia Motas came to mind.
5. Difficulties may challenge mediocrity and defeat the fearful, but they only stimulate the true children of the Most Highs. [Paper 48:7.7, page 556.7]
12. The greatest affliction of the cosmos is never to have been afflicted. Mortals only learn wisdom by experiencing tribulation. [Paper 48:7.14, page 556.14]
13. Stars are best discerned from the lonely isolation of experiential depths, not from the illuminated and ecstatic mountain tops. [Paper 48:7.15, page 556.15]
16. You cannot perceive spiritual truth until you feelingly experience it, and many truths are not really felt except in adversity. [Paper 48:7.18, page 557.2]
Sadly, before the attack, the general view was that all Muslims were terrorists, and this community suffered by being shunned, discriminated against, and generally being totally misunderstood, and just as there are many aspects of Islam which need updating the same can be said for Christianity.
A Muslim, Haezreena Begum binti Abdul Hamid’s Reflects on the Christchurch Shooting Massacre, and she wrote in a Victoria University publication: (With Permission}
A Muslim, Haezreena Begum binti Abdul Hamid’s Reflects on the Christchurch Shooting Massacre, and she wrote in a Victoria University publication: (With Permission)
“As a Muslim woman living in New Zealand, I am no stranger to racist slurs, comments, gestures and looks which I have encountered over the last four years, even at the University. Therefore, I am not totally surprised at what had happened on Friday although I am deeply saddened and shocked at the fact that my brothers and sisters were attacked and gunned down while they were praying. And at the time where they were most vulnerable and defenceless. In case some of you were wondering, we address others in the Islamic faith as brothers and sisters because it gives us a sense of unity and a sense of belonging. We feel for each other and we look out for each other. That’s why we are deeply impacted with this tragedy.
“Unlike in other countries, Muslims in New Zealand do not hold any rallies or ask for any privilege or rights as Muslims. We are a small peaceful loving community who are trying to live and get on with our lives. We understand that we are the minority and we do not have any intention to Islamise the nation but we welcome any individual who wants to learn about our faith. The masjid (mosque) is our sanctuary and we seek comfort and solace at our place of worship. As Muslims, we can go anywhere in the world and we will always drop by the local Masjid for prayers or if we are in need of any help. My sons used to perform jummah (congregational) prayers at the Kilbirnie mosque every Friday and we have also prayed at the An-Nur (‘the light’) mosque when we were in Christchurch a few months back. We don’t even carry our I.D’s or take our wallets when we go the mosque because it is our place of worship, our place of comfort, our home. Therefore, any of us could have been the victims but we were fortunate to not be at that place and at that time of the attack. In the light of what has happened, I hope we can all discard our feelings of hate and see each other as equal. I have received overwhelming love and support from friends and loved ones since Friday. Thank you very much for your love and support and I hope we will continue supporting each other through these tough times. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this piece.”
New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern visited members of the Muslim community at the Phillipstown Community Centre, 16 March 2019. Captured through a glass window, the photo was widely shared at the time and described by The Guardian as “an image of hope”.
I wasn’t really expecting the reactions of my countrymen as although only 37% of Kiwis say they believe in God, I know that in spite of this, their hearts are in the right place. Ask anyone here if they believe in the “golden rule” (do unto others as you would have others do unto you), and they will agree they do. Ask if they believe that all men are brothers, they (mostly) do. In other words, the teachings of Jesus prevail. Although many are not fully aware of this, they must be following the “promptings” of their Thought Adjusters, and choose to do the right thing.
I believe that having the right leadership was helpful. Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern showed genuine compassion and concern and her actions led the way and made it possible for people to express what was really in their hearts.
New Zealanders began to look at Muslims as real human beings, just like them, with the same love for their families, the same reactions to heartbreak and the same emotions we all feel. The acts of love, kindness, acknowledgement of brotherhood and practical and financial support was overwhelming.
Of course, the response may be short lived, but I believe there is a change in the way the Muslim community is viewed in New Zealand as is evidenced in the media. They are being asked for their opinion and are no longer invisible in the community.
My prayer is that this outpouring of love, understanding and support is permanent.
″…In your lives overthrow error and overcome evil by the love of the living truth. In all your relations with men do good for evil….” [Paper 131:1.7, page 1443:3]
…Fatherly love delights in returning good for evil–doing good in retaliation for injustice….[Paper 140:5.24, page 1575:9]
New Zealand Get-Together–Taupo, Labour Weekend
On 25th to 28th October, some New Zealand readers will meet at the Villa Ika, in Taupo. In our previous get-togethers, we don’t usually have any set program to follow, but enjoy the freedom a gathering of Urantia Book readers brings. We do study the book though, and this is based on topics discussed during our stay, or any particular topic attendees want to explore. As New Zealand readers are hosting the ANZURA annual conference in Auckland in 2020, this will be an opportunity for more planning.
Online Study in NZ
Every second Tuesday, we have online meetings and for details, dates etc., please contact moderator Ian Campbell at: email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 021 267 5799