Indian bishops pray for New Zealand terror victims

By Matters India Reporter

New Delhi, March 16, 2019: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has expressed anguish and sadness at the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand.

At least 49 people were killed and 20 seriously injured on March 15 in a hate-filled terror attack targeting two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

“The Catholic Church in India prays for the souls of those killed in the senseless killing and implores God for quick and complete healing of the injured. We ask the Almighty God for comfort and consolation to the families of the victims,” says a March 16 condolence message from the bishops’ conference.

The statement points out that the New Zealand attack has come nearly a month after the terrorist attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir that killed 44 soldiers. “Even as the world grieved with us as our tragedy it has to reckon with yet another horror,” it adds.

The bishops’ conference says the “demon of hatred and division” when unleashed is difficult to control and leaves behind “death, pain and sorrow.”

The press note says the New Zealand tragedy draws attention to the use of social media for spreading hate and threatening messages, ultra-nationalistic rage and categorization of dissenters as anti-nationals.

“It is time to call out hate mongers and take them to task,” the bishops’ message said and lauded New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her bold action against hatred.

She said: “Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts…”

The terrorist attacks anywhere are crimes against humanity, the Indian bishops asserted.

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