We must not allow violent extremism to succeed in spreading fear and division.
We at Turquoise Harmony Institute are grief stricken and heart broken in light of the devastating terrorist attack on the Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand. A Mosque does not merely represent a sacred place of worship, it is a place of gathering for the whole community – Muslim or not. The violation of both religious freedoms and the social bonds of community in this heinous act of terrorism is deeply saddening. Such an act can only be described as New Zealand’s Prime Minister observed, “New Zealand’s darkest days”.
The rise of hate crime and faith-oriented discrimination, specifically anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, is a fundamental threat to the peace and tranquillity of our society. We would like to emphasize that any form of terrorism cannot be justified, for any reason whatsoever and should not be condoned by any group. We must not allow those who commit acts of terrorism or violent extremism to succeed in their attempt to spread fear and division. Such acts of terror only strengthen our commitment to the project of spreading dialogue, mutual understanding and emphatic acceptance of all.
Hence, Turquoise Harmony Institute calls on all communities to be resolute in both interfaith and community cohesion activities. We must unite against those who commit terrorist actions, regardless of their so-called justifications, motivations or ideology.
As an interfaith dialogue institute based in South Africa, we would like to extend our prayers and deepest sympathies to all families and individuals affected in New Zealand. Our prayers are with you.