By Hena Tahir, Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association
A week ago last Friday afternoon, two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand were attacked. Forty-nine innocent Muslims lost their lives in this act of terror. The Australian terrorist, a 28-year-old white nationalist extremist, was charged with murder.
Those questioning whether this was in fact a hate crime can find their answer in a 74-page manifesto spewing hatred, written by the attacker. Before departing on the shooting spree, he posted the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant manifesto online and shared the root of his animosity through his white-supremacist views.
In any religion, when individuals are praying, they are in a vulnerable position, deliberately and solemnly, conversing with their Lord. At that point in time, regardless of which house of God they are worshipping in, whether it be a church, a synagogue, a temple or a mosque, the believers are exposed and unguarded. Taking advantage of someone when they are powerless is the ultimate act of torment.“Let us be clear, while Muslims may have been the victims today, usually they are the perpetrators. World-wide, Muslims are killing people in the name of their faith on an industrial scale,” stated Australian senator Fraser Anning in a statement his office released on Twitter, which was later taken down. He went on to say, “The entire religion of Islam is simply the violent ideology of a sixth century despot masquerading as a religious leader…the truth is that Islam is not like any other faith. It is the religious equivalent of fascism. And just because the followers of this savage belief were not the killers in this instance, does not make them blameless.”
With all due respect, now let me be clear, Senator. Not only are you misinformed about the religion of Islam, you are actually, unknowingly, illustrating that you have so much hatred for the religion that you are not even going to bother understanding its beliefs. Rather, you are going to comprehend Islam through the actions of a few extremist organizations that not only misrepresent Islamic teachings and have personal vested interests, but also commit more acts of terror against Muslims than against followers of any other faith.
Keep in mind, the attacker’s faith has not been made public but regardless of what it may be, the entire religion, whether it be Christianity or Judaism, is not to blame.
Submission, Obedience and Peace
The Arabic root word for Islam means submission, obedience and peace. And that is simply the tip of the iceberg. Referencing the Holy Qur’an directly, rather than relying on a few organizations that claim to know the Holy Qur’an, proves to be much more fruitful in grasping the teachings of Islam.
Whosoever killed a person — unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land — it shall be as if he had killed all mankind (Qur’an 5:33).
Explaining this verse, the founder of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, said, “He who abandons kindness abandons religion. The Holy Qur’an teaches that whosoever kills a person without justifiable cause will be as if he has killed the whole world. In the same way, I say that if someone is not kind unto his brother, it is like he has been unkind to the whole world.”
The fifth successor of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, clearly states his stance on the mosque shootings: “Such heinous and utterly inhumane attacks must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It is a grave tragedy that dozens of innocent Muslims have lost their lives whilst joining together for worship. All people, no matter their faith or belief, have the right to worship peacefully.” He goes on to say, “This tragic event should serve as a lesson and warning to other countries of the developed world that we must join together to tackle all forms of racial, ethnic and religious hatred with wisdom and with a firm hand.”
Out of sheer curiosity, what part of Islamic teachings identify with Fascist ideologies?
Senator Anning, with the evidence I just presented, on behalf of Muslims all around the world, I humbly ask you to overturn your verdict established on false pretenses. The individual who carried out this barbaric terrorist attack shall be the sole perpetrator who is guilty as charged. And the individuals who are an accessory to this hate crime along with those in power who incite bigotry and racism shall be held accountable.
Hena Tahir is a writer for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.