The Geelong Interfaith Network (GIN) deplores the recent massacre of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. Our deepest sympathy goes to those who lost family members, friends and fellow members of their Muslim community, and to those who survived but will bear the scars of their wounds for life.
Though the timing and locations of the murders were no doubt chosen primarily for strategic reasons, the offence to Muslims is all the more poignant for the fact that they were at their Friday prayers when it happened. As if, by slaughtering his worshippers, Muslim faith in their merciful God could be shaken!
There is then a merciful irony in the fact that the faith discredited by these atrocities is rather the myth of European supremacy the icons of which were the inscriptions on the weapons used to commit them.
The means designed to demonstrate that Muslims do not belong in societies like ours served only to demonstrate that their users were the ones who can have no place in any civilised society.
An atrocity perpetrated in the name of defending the supremacy of European blood is shown, by the science of which civilised societies can be justly proud, to be a pernicious myth: there is no such thing as European or Asian or any other national or racial blood – there is only human blood!
The best in human civilisation is to be seen in the efforts of different groups to reach out across their differences to discover what they have in common. At events like the Annual Open Day held at the Geelong mosque, people engaging in those efforts discover a dignified, reflective, serene form of worship, the warmest of hospitality and a commonality of interests, concerns and aspirations in people of all faiths and none. Those under the most fierce assault are the ones leading the way in living the values societies like ours claim to stand for. The people of Geelong – and everywhere – would do best to follow this lead and renounce unequivocally the exclusivist values of these terrorists.