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I am deeply saddened about the heinous terrorist attack in Christchurch resulting in the loss of lives of many innocent Muslims. Such attacks are reprehensible no matter what the motives. Muslims, like followers of other religions, have the right to worship peacefully. The head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has repeatedly warned all countries about the urgent need of tackling the rising hatred towards ethnic and religious minorities incited by far-right individuals and organisations. I pray that our leaders take action swiftly and wisely.
Soofi Aziz, Secretary, External Affairs, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Victoria, Langwarrin
As an Australian Muslim living in Pakistan and teaching at a Pakistani university, what do I say to the students who want to study in Australia? It’s heartbreaking because I know that for the millions of Australians who have made me feel at home for so many decades, there are less than a handful who are confused and angry enough to blindly hate. I am from Melbourne. Australia and Australians have so much to offer the world and no act of terror can take that away.
Australia has always been safe and will continue to be welcoming. The country has become stronger with diversity not without it. That is what I will tell my students when they ask me. I will tell them the truth.
Sameen Motahhir, Assistant Professor, English, Information Technology University, Lahore, Pakistan
Perverse poison damns senator
In the most perverse way, Fraser Anning has used the atrocity in New Zealand to further incite racial hatred and recruit others to his dangerous cause. He has dared to imply that the actions of white supremacists in New Zealand were the inevitable consequence of immigration policies, simultaneously attempting to mitigate their crimes and justify their actions toothers while blaming the victims. This man must be expelled from the Senate.
Mainstream hate has inevitable result
As an Ahmadi Muslim, I’m gutted, I’m grieving, I’m horrified, but I’m not shocked by the shootings. With the kind of shameless display of insensitivity shown towards Muslim communities almost worldwide by certain politicians and certain media companies generally throughout the year and specifically after any terrorist attack, we were bound to see this terrible result. This is the cost of mainstreaming hate, giving platforms to bigots and spreading conspiracy theories about immigrants.
Ata Ul Hadi, Adelaide, SA
Now for the blaming
How scary it would be if all Australians were blamed for the terrorist attacks in New Zealand – as Muslims were for other terrorist attacks.
Lawry Mahon, Port Fairy
I cannot describe how gut-wrenched I felt at the news of the Christchurch massacre, as I wailed, with the knowledge that Friday is always the most solemn Muslim prayer ceremony, thus everyone who can get there will be there. I knew the casualties would be immense, and would include the devout aged and infirm Muslims, along with the youngest children. While I cried for every single victim, and the victims’ circle of family and friends, I never even considered that the perpetrator might be Australian.
As if that was not sufficiently galling and deeply distressing to most Australians, we were then faced with the repulsive statements from Fraser Anning. His sentiments are exactly what exacerbates vulnerable individuals to move into rapid radicalisation. He is a disgrace to our nation, and deserves to be stripped of all parliamentary privileges. As an Australian taxpayer, I am repulsed that I am forced to support Anning.
Jaye Fletcher, Croydon North
Humanity at stake
The white supremacist who committed the atrocities in New Zealand believes he is part of a global clash between civilisations, with the future of our race at stake. But it is the future of the human race, not the white race, that is at stake. And the clash is between the forces of extremism and moderation, not between Muslim and non-Muslim.
On the other side are good people of all political, religious and cultural persuasions, people of moderation, kindness, peace, tolerance, reason, humility and charity, who have rightly joined together to condemn these attacks and those who seek to justify or rationalise them away.
There is a fundamental divide in the world today, between those who would have us live together in peace and those who would not, and we should never lose sight of that.
Steven Graham, Sunbury
Given that the Christchurch shooting was conducted by an Australian far-right extremist, Immigration Minister David Coleman needs to explain to the public why he overrode Department of Home Affairs advice in allowing the neo-Nazi extremist, Milo Yiannopoulos, to enter Australia to address rallies. Coleman rightly would not allow a member of Islamic State to enter the country, but this massacre, like other similar far-right massacres in the United States, proves that right-wing terrorism is an equally serious threat to national security.
David Crawford, Balwyn