A new ray of hope rises from New Zealand
The exhibition of cowardice and brutality in two Mosques at Christchurch in New Zealand on the 15th of this month has proven the fact that terrorism knows no faith and religion. Those who attribute it to any particular religion or faith have either an agenda to malign a particular faith or have no understanding of the phenomenon at all. Though the attacks sent shockwaves across the world, particularly Muslim minorities, the Prime Minister of Newzealand, Jacinda Ardern, however has risen above the stereotypes and the Islamaphobic stances very much prevalent in the west. The so-called political big-shots of the world didn’t offer much except the rhetorical condemnations, the hypocrisy of which is wide open for the masses to see.
But the Kiwi Prime Minister has set an unprecedented example of compassion, sympathy, humanity and above all statesmanship that the leaders of this age so desperately lack. The way she consoled the victims and the way she stood by their side is unprecedented and one has to say that not many leaders of the globe could have done what she did in her capacity as the head of a state.
Jacinda Ardern condemned the attacks in the strongest terms and the way she stood by the bereaved Muslims in New Zealand speaks volumes about her statesmanship qualities and virtuous personality. She visited the victim families and offered her apologies and shared with them the vision of her government which, she said, was based harmonious relations among its citizens be they of any faith, religion, race or colour.
She didn’t stop here and decided to initiate the proceedings of a Friday session of her Parliament with the recitation of holy Quran. She decided to broadcast the Friday Azaan on the national Radio of New Zealand in the memory of the victims. She herself wore the Hijab-a head scarf typical of Muslim women, in solidarity with the Muslim victims. Contrary to the big leaders of the world who crafted their messages to somehow not sound very offending to the white supremacists, she sent a powerful message to hate mongers and stated that the act was a terrorist act and use of word terrorism cannot be made so selective in order to malign a community.
Terrorism related incidents have become order of the day in contemporary times. We often see such situations arising while the leaders take the political mileage from the blood thus spilled. People of New Zealand have shown their resolve to fight such terrorists and have condemned attempts targeting Muslims. They have stood with their brethren and given a clear message to such perpetrators that there was no place for them in their country. May the world wake up and learn from such statesmanship.
The writer is a Teacher, a poet and a Social activist. He can be reached at [email protected]