‘Outpouring of love and support’ for Islamic community
Solidarity expressed by religious leaders following the New Zealand mosque attacks
From left to right: New Zealand ambassador for Ireland Brad Burgess, Rabbi Zalman Lent, Imam Dr Sheikh Umer and Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson attend the memorial gathering for those killed in Christchurch at Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland on Friday. Photograph: James Forde/The Irish Times
There has been an outpouring of love and support for the Islamic community in Ireland, following the killings in two mosques in New Zealand a week ago, the chairman of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri has said.
Welcoming secular and religious leaders including those from the Jewish, Anglican and Catholic faiths, to the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland for a memorial gathering, he said the centre had received many cards and flowers and messages of support and so many emails the centre had not yet replied to them all.
Dr Umar said Jews and Christians had also had the experience of extremism and hatred over the last 100 years, remarking “the murder of our cousins is the murder of all humanity . . . our Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters have faced this dehumanisation for a long time”.
But he said the attacker, in attempting to spread extremism and hatred had “failed, failed miserably”.
The theme of solidarity was also taken up in the Jewish community by rabbi Zalman Lent who asked, “what kind of a world is it that people want to kill those who share their faith in a different way”.
Rabbi Lent said he wanted to echo Dr Umar’s words that an attack on one was an attack on all , remarking that “in Jewish tradition we are taught that one life is one world, to kill one life is to kill an entire world”.
He said the Jewish core belief was that all people would ultimately come together to overcome hatred.
The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson said his priority was “to express sympathy, sadness and solidarity”.
He said Dublin had been fortunate to have The Dublin Inter Faith Charter of 2016, a commitment to shared values and to shared actions.
The values and the actions interact and infuse each other and they draw together the best of human aspiration in the best of human hope.
Archbishop Jackson warned however that proposed church-State dialogue promised by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar may be “ insufficient, partial and inadequate in contemporary Ireland”.
He said the “diversity of faiths” needed to be integral to new dialogue in Ireland as was happening elsewhere in the world.
“Our challenge is the real work of pulling together, with all stakeholders and policy makers, secular, religious and political, the areas in between you and me, the areas in between us who are all too easily divided into being ’other’ to each other,” he said.
The New Zealand Ambassador to Ireland Brad Burgess thanked the congregation for their kindness and repeated his prime minister’s suggestion that the attacker’s name not be used, not be made into an icon.
The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin was represented at the Blanchardstown mosque by Fr Damian McNiece.