Following suggestions that it is not appropriate to have commemorations this weekend for the Christchurch mosque attacks, I have been giving this some thought. I have reservations about getting too heavily into the act of commemorating the Al Noor and Linwood mosque attacks.
The reason is simple:
In the Islamic faith it is considered that once a person is deceased, they have gone to another life. Whilst Islam does not forbid people from mourning it emphasizes the need for a positive legacy from the loss of the deceased.
It is an idea that I quite like. Which is why I believe that these commemorations planned for this weekend should be a once off, and that thereafter in accordance with the Islamic faith, which lost so many of its followers, we should focus on assisting the Muslim community with turning the darkness of 15 March 2019 into something positive that will be beneficial for all.
Just as the Muslim community will want to move forwards, so should the rest of New Zealand. We should not ever forget what happened, but large public gatherings to acknowledge the attacks year after year would not be helpful for anyone in Christchurch.
Following recent arrests of people publishing inflammatory material, including a 19 year old man who made a threat to Al Noor Mosque, it was discovered they belonged to Action Zealandia. We should focus on making sure that militant groups like Action Zealandia are not able to establish a foothold. Despite Action Zealandia denying the group supported the attacks, a document was “leaked” to Stuff which mentioned the code of conduct for the group, including refusing to talk to anyone conducting an interrogation. And an expert with experience of researching the far right in New Zealand said it was possible that the document was deliberately planted to ensure that it appeared that the group is peaceful.
In a few months time the trial of the person accused will start. Just as New Zealand media have agreed not to publish the persons name or other identifying details, nor will this blog. The person is accused of murdering 51 people and faces a further 40 charges of attempted. If convicted, the person has no prospect of ever being released in New Zealand. The attacker, who drew inspiration from the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik and other inflammatory sources, was from Australia.