As halting the spread of the coronavirus occupies the world’s consciousness and takes precedence over all else, including overshadowing the first anniversary of the terrorist shootings and cold-blooded murders of innocent worshipers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, we stop to remember our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children martyred on this fateful day one year ago.
While marking anniversaries of events is not typically an Islamic tradition, it serves in this case to keep alive in the public consciousness the real life and tragic consequences of unchecked hate speech, false speech dressed up as alternative facts, sensationalised headlines bereft of substance and veracity, xenophobia, and nationalist rhetoric geared toward the deliberate disenfranchisement of minorities.
As is so often the case following tragedies, there is a rallying of the good and the best that society can muster up, and those hitherto differences, invariably skin deep and artificial, melt away in the face of the true goodness and brotherhood of humankind. Let us all hold on to this in the best spirit of human endeavour and in absolute defiance of the scandalmongers, hate preachers, and calumny makers hellbent on dividing communities and stoking tensions. Their success or failure is ultimately in our hands.
We pray that Allah (God) Almighty forgives all who lost their lives in these brutal attacks and grants them the highest station in Paradise. We pray that those injured make a full recovery. And we pray that the families of all those affected are bestowed with the best form of patience to bear their loss.
‘And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” ‘No, they are living, but you perceive it not.’[Qur’an Chapter 2, Verse 154]