- This racism and xenophobia that has been allowed to fester for far too long – has deadly consequences – presenting one of the most significant challenges to civilised society in contemporary times
- We must never allow these terrorists to undermine the respect and love we have for one another, as brothers and sisters in humanity.
LONDON – Around 400 Muslim scholars, academics, and community leaders from around the world have signed an open letter calling for an end to Islamophobia in the wake of last Friday’s terrorist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.
“We are horrified by the cold-blooded massacre of 50 peaceful Muslim worshippers, including women and children, in Christchurch, New Zealand, last Friday. The brutal and merciless killing of innocent and defenseless worshippers devastates us,” the letter published in The Guardian read.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the scores of injured who remain hospitalized. Our deepest, heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have lost their loved ones.
“We pray that the agony of the bereaved may find some comfort and solace in knowing those slain will be granted paradise, God willing.”
Terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 49 Muslim worshippers in Friday’s attacks as he targeted Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, said the victims came from across the Muslim world, with Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia among the countries rendering consular assistance.
In their open letter, the imams lamented the rise of Islamophobia and xenophobia across the world, fueled by the rhetoric of the far-right and white-supremacists.
“In recent times, we have seen levels of racist and anti-religious sentiments on the rise globally. We witnessed the horrific terror attacks at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, and Muslim worshippers mowed down in Finsbury Park, London,” they added.
“In each of these cases, the perpetrators self-identified as holding far-right nationalist views and expressed hatred for racial and religious minorities. Views such as these have found a natural home in far-right populist narratives.”
The Muslim religious leaders added that attacks targeting Muslims did not start with bullets in Christchurch, blaming media and politicians for the rise of such hateful rhetoric.
“The massacre of Muslims did not just begin with bullets fired from the barrel of Tarrant’s gun. Rather it was decades in the making: inspired by Islamophobic media reports, hundreds and thousands of column inches of hatred printed in the press, many Muslim-hating politicians and unchecked social-media bigotry,” the letter added.
They also urged governments to step in and take action to end hate.
“We must never allow these terrorists to undermine the respect and love we have for one another, as brothers and sisters in humanity. This cycle of senseless violence must stop,” they said.
“We call upon the respected governments of the world to realise the dangerous threats posed by far-right groups and white supremacists and to take proactive measures in order to protect and educate citizens.”