In Christchurch right now, there is much news flying about. Television reporters are trying to find out facts in a fluid, rapidly changing situation.
But it seems that the shooting, perhaps two shootings in Christchurch were against Muslim worshippers by at least one, maybe more, of those who may be of a white supremacist persuasion. Meanwhile, school children are locked down in their schools. A terrifying Friday afternoon for them.
“This isn’t New Zealand” said one of our staff this afternoon, but unfortunately hate can breed anywhere. Sometimes it is bred out of real situations, at other times out of an ideology which does not see the ‘enemy’ as real. Our ideologies can blind us to the fact that those unknown and different from ‘us’ are just human beings as we are. Aggressors forget in their anger that we are all from the same human family.
Our hearts go out to those who are afraid and grieving, hurt and maimed. Our hearts also go out to those who do not know what has happened to their loved ones or where they are and how they are feeling.
We reiterate that our understanding is that the Christian religion is one of love which urges us to peace, and also, in our understanding, so is lslam. According to the Quran, Islam teaches love and compassion for every human being, no matter their religion.
A prayer vigil is being held at St Peters on Willis at 7pm tonight for anyone who can join, they are welcome.
Take care of yourselves tonight. These are frightening and shocking stories and images which will upset and sadden you. If you have Muslim neighbours assure them of your care and support.