Reaching across religious lines to offer comfort, religious leaders all over the world are articulating their condolences to those affected by Friday’s mosque shootings in New Zealand. As fellow people of faith, these leaders are spreading the Pray for New Zealand message.
“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters.
A gunman attacked two mosques on Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday prayers. At least 49 people have died, with many more injured, some critically. A suspect is in custody, but authorities in New Zealand are not ruling out the possibility that the shooter had help.
As if the incident wasn’t bad enough, it appears those involved in the attack uploaded footage of shootings to social media and YouTube. It is obvious those responsible wanted the incident to be highly publicized. Authorities in New Zealand are asking people on social media not to share images of the suspected shooter or any of the footage the shooter may have uploaded.
Christian Leaders Offer Condolences
The fact that Muslim worshippers were attacked while attending a prayer service has struck a nerve with the global religious community. Christian leaders took to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their sorrow at the event.
J.D. Greear, Pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, and President of the Southern Baptist Convention
Religious liberty means freedom to worship according to one’s conscience without fear. It is one of our most precious freedoms and should be enjoyed by all everywhere. We grieve with our Muslim neighbors, weep with them, and stand unequivocally against this evil act.
— J.D. Greear (@jdgreear) March 15, 2019
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Canterbury, United Kingdom
Profound sympathy for the victims and relatives of the New Zealand terrorism. Let all Christians pray for healing of people, interfaith relations and New Zealand itself. Jesus calls us to welcome strangers and love our neighbour however different.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) March 15, 2019
Mika Edmondson, Pastor of New City Fellowship Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan
My heart is breaking for our precious Muslim neighbors in Christchurch & all over the world. 😢😢
Xenophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-muslim rhetoric isn’t a game. It has a massive body count.
Christians lets stand with our neighbors against the attitudes that disparage & kill.
— Mika Edmondson (@mika_edmondson) March 15, 2019
Stadia Church Planting Network in the United States
We are praying for the Muslim families who were impacted by the terrorist attack on a mosque in New Zealand.
From a Christian perspective, there is no place in the teachings of Jesus for this kind of senseless killing and disregard for life. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/f6avROk6YN
— Stadia Church Planting (@stadia) March 15, 2019
Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, United States
The terrorist attacks in New Zealand are horrifying. We should pray and work for swift justice against these murderers, and for grace and comfort for those grieving the loss of family, friends, neighbors.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) March 15, 2019
Reverend Dr. Demali Najuma Smith-Pollard, Senior Pastor of Word of Encouragement Community Church in Los Angeles, California
God today, the families, the fallen, the hatred… God have mercy! #Christchurch
— RevJuju (@RevJuju) March 15, 2019
Dr. Glenn Davies, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Australia
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.
— Archbp Glenn Davies (@abpdavies) March 15, 2019
Arkansas United Methodist Church Conference
— Arkansas United Methodist Conference (@arkansasumc) March 15, 2019
Other Faith Communities Stand in Solidarity with Muslims
Jewish leaders announced the synagogues in New Zealand will be closed on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath) out of a sign of solidarity with New Zealand’s Muslim community. Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency, said, “The Jewish Agency and the NZ Jewish Council stand in solidarity with the bereaved families. We are united in fighting violent hatred and racism.”
Other Muslim communities in places like the United States are concerned for their own safety after the attack. “Every time there is a shooting in any house of worship, mosque, synagogue or church, we Muslims wonder ‘Are we going to be next?'” Imam Ahmed Alamine told the Indy Star. Aliya Amin, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, said the group is urging all religious congregations to “step up their security.”
Despite the devastation and fear, though, Alamine says, “The level of support from law enforcement, from Christians, from Jews, it is just so amazing.”