Strive for unity through brotherhood! Lessons from Christchurch

A makeshift memorial to the victims of last week's mass chooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. The man accused of carrying out the attack that killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch last week is expected to represent himself in court, but the country’s prime minister said on Tuesday that she wants to do everything possible to deny him the attention he craves. (Adam Dean/The New York Times)


This report is published for two reasons:

1. To remind all the importance of the  IDES OF MARCH, which is on March 15,  44 BC when the historic murder of Julius Caesar took place led by his friend Brutus, which gave rise to the exclamation: “You too Brutus!”

2. The Ghost of terror all over the world where Cane killing Abel – brother killing brother continues its brutal march which exploded again on the last Ides of March(15) in New Zealand.


Most important are the answers the writer gives to the question: So what do we learn from Christchurch?   Read them carefully and prayerfully till you take the decision not to stop until you win. james kottoor editor ccv.



By Syeda Hamid



March 28, 2019


In India, Secular Parties Need to Invoke the Freedom Struggle’s Inclusive Ideals: Lessons from Christchurch

There is something ominous about the Ides of March. That day in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated by his entire senate, and the attack was led by his best friend Brutus. World War II was sparked that day when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. The Syrian war erupted on the same day. And, on the same date, in Christchurch, New Zealand, a man walked into a mosque where people had gathered to offer Friday prayers: Armed with two automatics, he sprayed them with bullets. While shooting innocents, he was also filmed the incident on a camera attached to his helmet.

The world rose to condemn the incident, led by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. It was called an “act of a mentally deranged white supremacist”. No one called it Christian terror. No one equated it with religion, nor quoted the Bible. Had the assassin been Muslim, though, it would have been labelled Islamic and all efforts made to misquote the Quran. Demonisation of Muslims would trend everywhere.

The mass killing in New Zealand’s Al Noor mosque triggered an instant response from a Queensland senator, in Australia: Fraser Anning not only justified, but valourised the 28-year-old fellow Australian killer, Brenton Harrison Tarrant. In a statement published on an official letterhead, Anning averred that the growing fear in Australia and New Zealand of increasing Muslim presence was bound to result in such an act. He condemned New Zealand’s immigration policy and said: “Islam is unlike any other faith… it is a religion of fascism”. He described the Prophet as “A 6th Century despot masquerading as a religious leader.”

Ironically, Australia and New Zealand are known for their usurpation of land rights and harsh treatment of the aboriginal people, the Maoris. Civilised nations the world over have a history of snatching the rights of the First Peoples in their quest for new lands and conquests. But history is usually forgotten and recalled only when an incident such as Christchurch uncovers the dirt that lies beneath the veneer of modernity.

Across the world, the aim is to not to equate terror with any religion. Even extreme right wingers have said it, albeit under political compulsion. Personally, I don’t think of Christchurch in terms of Christian terror. Nor do I think of the killing of Jews in Pittsburg or Christians in Charleston as Islamic terror. Nor do I think of Malegaon as Hindu terror.

So what do we learn from Christchurch, Brenton Harrison Tarrant and Fraser Anning?

We learn that human depravity has seeped into some minds everywhere in the world. In India, it showed up in Nuh which saw the lynching of Rakbar Khan, in Alwar with the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq, in Rajsamund which saw the lynching of Afrazul, in Ballabhgarh which saw the killing of Junaid, and, in Kathua which saw the rape and murder of an eight-year-old. Our beloved country is being infected with this malaise: It incubates in the hearts of Muslim haters whose mission is to make Bharat “swachh” by obliterating their existence. Political leaders who valorise them now have a new mentor — senator Fraser Anning.

Are we letting this depravity become the new normal? In his commentary and explication of the Quran, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad wrote about all the religions. He said that Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam all enjoin their adherents to eschew every act of violence and follow the Sirat al-Mustaqim — the straight path of love and compassion for all beings created by God.

I believe in Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru who saw Hindus and Muslims as integral to the idea of India. This is best expressed in the 1923 address of Maulana Azad, the youngest Congress president, where he said that if an angel were to descend from heaven and declare that India will get Swaraj within 24 hours, provided she relinquishes Hindu-Muslim unity, “I will relinquish Swaraj rather than give up Hindu Muslim unity. Delay in attainment of Swaraj will be a loss to India but if our unity is lost it will be a loss to entire humankind”. Those were days when such words could be spoken from public platforms without the fear of lynching or assassination. They need to be invoked across the board now by secular, democratic liberal peoples and parties.

India has 180 million Muslims who cannot be swept away by a spate of violence. Globally, 1.5 billion Muslims, most of whom live in 50 Muslim-majority countries, cannot be destroyed by random killings. There is solace in what prophets, philosophers, sufis, have instructed in every text, every language, and every religion. Gandhi said, “There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seemed invincible, but in the end they always fall”. These words keep me alive.

* Syeda Hameed is a former member of Planning Commission









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2 Responses

  1. George Neduparambil says:

    The writer has referred to The Bible which I have read.  What I noticed  is that there is plenty of violence in it where often God takes sides and even sends down angels to do the killing.  But to the credit of Bible it must be said that there is a continuous transition from violence to peace, a process that Jesus takes up to the complete exclusion of violence.  Of course, he has threatened  people that they will be thrown into burning fire of hell but I do not recollect him calling on anyone or giving anyone the right to kill another human being and promising reward for doing so. 

    I presume that the writer is a Muslim.  I have not read the Holy Quran but have watched a number of Malayalam videos available in Youtube put up by Muslim rationalists.  There martyrs are promised heaven where there will be 70 virgins and young boys and best of alcohol  on offer for them.  They also say that there are other verses which call upon followers to kill unbelievers or infidels.  If these are true, I would have liked the writer to comment on such verses and their influence of young minds and the potential for exploitation of these verses to egg on/ encourage suicide bombers. 

    Whatever there is in the holy books of both Christians and Muslims, need to necessarily be applicable for present times. Times were different when these books were written.  So, there should be an honest effort from both groups to completely review their books and teach the new generation only things that enable them to live as a world citizen.   For example, Jesus had said He is the way and no one reaches the Father except through Him.  He said that but didn't do anything to reprograme the minds of people living then and to be born later.  I would imagine that Prophet Mohammed may have also said something similar.  But still there is only 1.5 billion Muslims in the world as against a population of 9 billion.  Apparently there was no reprograming of minds just like in Jesus' time.  So what we have ended with is "yours and mine" competitive spirt which is not good at all. Instead the world religious leaders must come to an agreement that all religioms are equally good as ultimately the purpose is to secure a guaranteed after life in comfort. Religions are just different ways to approaching the end.  That is all to religion.  Will there be takers for such a stand? 


  2. Denis Daniel says:


    It's an awesome, brilliant and deeply inspiring article. Every reader must read it.

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