A Christchurch-based minister has urged people not to read the manifesto of the gunman responsible for yesterday’s massacre at two mosques in the New Zealand city.
Geoff Robson, who manages the Christian Union at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, said on Facebook it was important not to give the terrorists the attention they were seeking.
“If there ends up being a manifesto, please don’t read it,” he wrote.
“If there ends up being a video, please don’t watch it.
“If we find out the names of people involved, please don’t share them.
“Don’t give them what they want.”
At least 49 people are confirmed to have been killed in the attacks, which were described by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
We need to affirm that we stand against violence and that this kind of action is contrary to the teaching of Christ. — Bernie Power
One of the alleged shooters, who filmed the attack using a headcam, was Brenton Tarrant from Grafton in northern New South Wales, who described himself in a chilling 74-page manifesto as “just an ordinary white man, 28 years old”.
Christians in Australia raised their voices to condemn the attacks on people who were peacefully attending Friday prayers at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in the South Island city.
“All Christians, as well as people of faith or of none, will be shocked to learn of the mosque attacks in #Christchurch. We long for peace and freedom from violence in our streets, our homes and especially in places of prayer,” Sydney Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies tweeted.
On Facebook he added: “We stand with those who are affected and frightened by this despicable act, and we mourn with those who are bereaved. Lord, have mercy.”
Bernie Power, Lecturer on Islamic studies at the Melbourne School of Theology, said: “We need to affirm that we stand against violence and that this kind of action is contrary to the teaching of Christ.
“If you do have differences with Muslims then there are peaceful ways to express those differences rather than resorting to violence – that’s never acceptable,” he told Eternity.
Moderate Muslim Zuhdi Jasser, who is visiting Australia, tweeted:
“Prayers for the families of all the victims of this heinous act of terror. May all those that committed this horror be swiftly brought to justice. Together humanity will overcome all threats to individual religious freedom.” the founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement said.
Sandy Grant, senior minister at St Michael’s Anglican Church in Wollongong, south of Sydney, has written a prayer for churches to pray this weekend:
you rule the earth and its people in love.
We pray for those torn apart through the ravages of terror in these New Zealand mosques today.
And we ask you to bring comfort and healing to the injured and grieving.
In a world of too much darkness,
give to all who exercise authority
determination to defend freedom and justice for all,
strength to protect and safeguard the innocent,
and vision to guide our world into pathways of peace.
In this time of uncertainty and fear,
help us all to love our enemies
and do good to those who hate us,
noting the example of Jesus Christ.
We look to him as the Prince of peace,
in whose name we pray. Amen.