NZ and Christian radicalism

Nadeem Qadir
Published : 20:09, Mar 27, 2019 | Updated : 20:34, Mar 27, 2019

Nadeem QadirReligion is a book for a peaceful world order. Every religion preaches peace and love. However, the mosque killings in New Zealand and the hammer attacks on five mosques in Britain’s Birmingham, within a short period have exposed a simmering hatred within the Christian faith against Muslims.
Thus the myth that violence was only sourced from the Muslim faith, that only radicalised Islamists preached hate and killed people in the name of religion, has been laid to rest.
In India, the Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi preach “Hindutva,” while in Pakistan, radical Islamic or terrorist groups are patronised. However, Nepal --- a former Hindu kingdom and now a secular country, along with a Buddhist dominated Bhutan and Sri Lanka, have been spared from the excesses of radicalism so far.
In comparison, Bangladesh is better placed. No religion-based political preaching is allowed, nor any radicalised or terrorist groups are patronised.
One group that is close to the government is “Hefazat,” which is not a political, radical or extremist group, but one which has A massive following with no hate agenda.
New Zealand, a nation of islands, is not the kind of place to suffer the mosque killings. I have been to New Zealand several times and enjoyed its laid-back life. The serenity of nature is at its best there, at least for me.
There are beautiful forests and volcanoes, some have mini-multi-coloured volcanic eruptions. Crystal blue water everywhere and a small creek near my brother’s home in Auckland showed me how wonderfully man and nature lived together.
When the news came of the mosque attack, which left 51 people killed, I thought it was the work of a man who had suddenly gone mad. Then it was presumed he was a “white supremacist” and thus it was a racial attack.
It was New Zealand’s extraordinary Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who told the world that it was nothing less than a “terrorist act” by a radicalised Australian Christian, who killed worshippers in the mosques owing to his hatred against Muslims.
A poster hangs at a memorial site for victims of Friday`s shooting, in front of Christchurch Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand March 19, 2019. REUTERSBangladesh’s worst terrorist attack was the one at “Holey Artisan Bakery,” but it came after several other targeted killings and we knew that unwelcome Islamic radicals had arrived in a country born with secular beliefs.
Thus for Britain or New Zealand, the reality is Christian radicals are raising their heads, targeting Muslims in what can be described as “acts of revenge.”
During London’s first terror attack I was in this popular city and wrote,' life may return to normal but it would never be the same.' The fear would linger on when I walk the beautiful Oxford or Regent streets or the well-planned parks.
Life has to go on. New Zealand will also leave behind, in the words of the premier Jacinda Ardern, “That quiet Friday afternoon has become our darkest of days. But for the families, it was more than that. It was the day that the simple act of prayer — of practicing their Muslim faith and religion — led to the loss of their loved ones' lives. Those loved ones were brothers, daughters, fathers and children. They were New Zealanders. They are us. And because they are us, we, as a nation, we mourn them.”
The Azan or call for prayers was heard ahead of Friday mass prayers across New Zealand under state sponsorship as the country mourned the killing of 51 faithful in two Christchurch mosques just a week ago.
The Prime Minister covered her head with a scarf in line with Islamic practice and joined thousands of mourners this Friday in front of the Al Noor Mosque, where most of the bodies were recovered.
She told grieving family and friends: “We mourn with you. We are one.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern immediately got down to action by amending the country’s gun laws and those that can be misused for such vicious killings have been scrapped and new conditions have been made in the case of legal gun trade.
The message from the two attacks on Muslims by Christians is that there is no room for complacence. Every country should start taking stock of the radicals with the help of their respective intelligence agencies.
Nadeem Qadir is the Consulting Editor, Daily Sun and a UN Dag Hammarskjöld fellow.

***The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions and views of Bangla Tribune.