Asian Church leader denounces New Zealand mosque shootings

By Matters India Reporter

Chiang Mai, March 15, 2019: The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) has denounced the shooting in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 49 people and wounded 20 others.

“No matter what faith we adhere or ethnicity we belong to, everybody should be able to live in an atmosphere where peace and security is prevailed and sustained; any act of violence must be prevented with all possible efforts,” said CCA secretary general Reverend Mathews George Chunakara, responding to the March 15 incidents.

The shootings occurred in the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Masjid at 1:40 pm New Zealand time (6 am India) during a Friday afternoon prayer

“We send our heart-felt support to all those who have been affected; we offer prayers to Almighty God for the victims, their families and reach out through our grief and distress to our Islamic brothers and sisters in New Zealand,” Reverend Chunakara said in his message.

He further added that CCA shares the sentiments of Reverend Nicola Teague Grundy, vice president of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, who said, “To single out one group of people as a focus of an act of hatred affects us all. There is no place ever for this type of attack on people, and we stand by all people, no matter what their faith. All people should be able to worship and live in a place of safety.”

Recalling the prophetic affirmation that “Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken” (Micah 4:4), the CCA General Secretary urged: “Let us pray fervently that God will take those killed into His merciful arms and grant them eternal rest. Let there be peace in the hearts of all those who are shattered by this awful tragedy that has destroyed a rather peaceful setting in a religiously tolerant country like New Zealand.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden called the incident “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the incident a “rightwing extremist attack” and said one suspect was Australian-born.

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