What happens next for Christchurch Muslims?

When the dust settles and the legal processes are done, what are we left with?

Shocking memories, unanswered questions and for many – memories of loved ones being violently killed.

Hideous images of death meted out indiscriminately. The horrors of witnessing men, women, children, old, young, family and friends, chillingly gunned down in cold blood. Without logic, without reason and without explanation.

From fear, shock and disbelief must surely follow anger and recrimination, how could it not? For many, the pain will continue as their grief unfolds. We need to be there for these people who have suffered the unimaginable.

Some came here as aliens to a strange land. They came full of hope for themselves and their children, leaving behind violence only to find it again on our peaceful shores. This is a travesty and betrayal that should never have happened.

In a different place, or time, any one of them could be my neighbour, work mate, friend or relative. But they each found their place as a target for evil and hatred, expressed with awful finality.

Now we are all left trying to figure out the ideology that motivated the attacks. We somehow think if we can identify the reason for it happening we will be able to stop it happening again. But in some measure, it doesn?t actually matter what motivated the killers, because everything boils down to one single thing – an intense hatred toward a group of innocent people.

The killers did what they did simply because they had let hatred grow until it defined them. But the truth is, there was absolutely no justification for the cold blooded killings.

We are aware of the flaws in the religion of Islam. We know it?s evil history and have been shocked over recent decades at the terrorist attacks and genocide. But that is no excuse. The perpetrators of the Christchurch killings are equally evil in the loss of more innocent lives.

We should never repay evil with evil, we should only repay evil with good as that is how people know we love them. My heart goes out to these Muslim worshipers who did not deserve this, no one does. I pray for them and I pray that my loving God will comfort them.

I hope Christchurch communities will take them into their hearts and show them love because that is exactly what they need right now. They need to know they are loved and that New Zealanders care about them. We do not hate them or blame them for the evil done in the name of Islam, and we most definitely did not wish this violence on them.

Good thoughts can be found in the book of Proverbs: hatred stirs up conflict but love covers all wrongs. Let love cover this most awful of wrongs, let love motivate us to do good, let love motivate us to help rebuild Muslim hopes and dreams for a better future in New Zealand.

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