The terrorism attack in Christchurch mosques in New Zealand in 2019 and ensuing events were historical and unprecedented in many respects.

This was an act by a lone White supremacist only against Muslims, reportedly as a retaliation to Islamic terrorism in Europe.

This was perhaps the first time international Muslims collectively deplored acts of terrorism.

And this was the first time where the victims and the bereaved from this terrorism attack were allowed to lock eyes with the terrorist and curse and humiliate him is a civilised First World Court trial.

This event shows that hurt and grief wrought by terrorism is universal and pains everybody – including Muslims.

We hope good Muslims around the world can muster enough resolve and courage to stand up and deplore terrorism on anybody, anywhere – and not only when victims happen to be the Muslims – as was the case in New Zealand.  

Please read on to get an insight into unprecedented act  terrorism in NZ by an Australian terrorist…….

On 26 November, 2008, Taj Hotel, Mumbai was attacked by a Pakistan -based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. This terrorist group is alleged to be linked and helped by Pakistani Government and its Intelligence, ISI. Some 167 people were killed. They were mostly Indian citizens but many foreigners were also singled out.

Over the last four decades, there have been multitudes of Islamic terror attacks worldwide against mostly non-Muslim targets. Apart from India, these were in Lebanon, France, Israel, Spain, Saudi Arabia, USA, Netherlands, England, Pakistan, Australia and Russia, among others. And the death toll in such attacks exceeded some five thousand (5,000).

After the Taj attack in Mumbai, I commented about the deafening silence on the attacks from any Muslims or Muslim organisations in New Zealand. I was indirectly threatened with harm by a supposedly Muslim leader for raising such a view. Because of tragic and sometimes, fatal endings to such criticisms by Jihadists and fundamentalists, there have been almost complete lack of criticisms on such Islamic terrorist attacks. This article was also given to one local publication, but understandably, I will understand if they choose not to publish it.

Islam is known as a respectable religion with very deep and learned l teachings for all of us. I have attended Islamic discourse, preaching of Kitaab (holy book) in my native Rarawai, Ba, Fiji at private resident of my Muslim uncle, Wali Mohammed. I found the teachings extremely enthralling, deeply knowledgeable and highly educational.

Based on such deep philosophy, majority of Muslims in the world are good and peaceful citizens. But it saddens me that such a great religion appears to be tarnished by a handful of fundamentalists who seem to have hijacked it for violent purposes. And the greater tragedy for the world has been the deafening silence from the majority of good and peaceful Muslims themselves against such vicious actions by their brothers degrading Islam.

Therefore, the change came as a breath of fresh air in the aftermath of 2019 terror attack against Muslim worshipers on Jumma (Friday) prayers in two Christchurch Mosques in New Zealand. There were resounding cries, curses and denouncements of terrorism by Muslims during the trial in August, 2020.

Indeed, this was historical when the tables were turned. The majority of victims comprised people from international Islamic nations. Pleasantly surprisingly, the survivors and the relatives of the victims all sang from the same hymn sheet in a loud chorus to deplore and condemn terrorism. Such a stance against terrorism by Muslims has been almost unprecedented.

The terror attack by a lone wolf terrorist in Christchurch on 25 March 2019 came as a complete surprise in a peaceful Aotearoa. It was shockingly revealed that the attack was a reversal situation where Muslims were the victims of a supposedly White supremacist killer from Australia. Reportedly he was partly inspired by past Islamic attacks on Europeans.

The response by New Zealand, and in particular, its very compassionate and empathetic Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern was exemplary. Her wrapping of arms, literally and metaphorically around the affected and grieving international Muslim community made her a world celebrity.

This show of leadership in face of adversity and tragedy became a model and “playbook” for other world leaders. Those injured and killed were from Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Fiji, Egypt, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, among others. This became an international tragedy in Aotearoa.

However, some good appear to have come out of this adversity and tragedy. This was an extremely rare event where international Muslim community stood shoulder to shoulder in unity to denounce, curse (coward, maggot, rotten meat, among others) and raise voice against terrorism and the terrorist. Tear-jerking and heart-rending tales of the dead and the survivors came out in the victim impact statements.

In yet another unprecedented event, the surviving victims and the bereaved had an opportunity to face and lock eyes with the killer in a civilised court in a First World Country. They were allowed to rebuke, curse or shout at the killer. Similar opportunity may never have been granted to families of thousands massacred by Islamic terrorists around the world.

Indeed we need more Muslims to abhor and object terrorism anywhere by anybody – and not only when Muslims are the victims.

Some overseas relatives even took advantage of New Zealand taxpayer generosity to be gifted free trips to attend the trial and give statements.

This also gave closure to the survivors and the bereaved. It presented them an opportunity to speak their hearts out, hoping the messages would touch cords of other terrorists, at least those of their faith, planning to commit similar monstrous and heinous crimes on other innocent lives.

Edmund Burke, the 18th century Irish statesman and philosopher said:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  

And the court case and ensuing victim statements proved that there are many good Muslims amongst us who are prepared to do something good to curb and restraint the triumph of evil. They stood up to deplore and condemn terrorism.

There were even hails of Allah Hu Akbar (Allah is great) in the Christchurch High Court, to shame and denounce the Australian terrorist.

Ironically, the same chants are also recited by many terrorists who take innocent lives and kill in the name of God, as they did at Taj Hotel in Mumbai in 2008. And many terrorists also recite the same as they slit the throats of their innocent victims.

We need more good Muslims around the world to oppose and detest against minority fundamentalists who tarnish the name of their religion.

The only thing I was disappointed with the Australian terrorist was that he chose to remain silent during the trial. I would have liked him to speak just this one line:

I am sorry for what I did, but hope it delivered home the message that Muslims also have feelings and feel aggrieved like others around the world killed by terrorists like me.

We hope good Muslims around the world can muster enough resolve and courage to stand up and deplore terrorism on anybody, anywhere – and not only when victims happen to be the Muslims – as was the case in New Zealand.

[About the Author: Thakur Ranjit Singh is a Kiwi Fijian Indian journalist and a media commentator, based in Auckland. He runs his blog FIJI PUNDIT. E-mail:thakurji@xtra.co.nz]

The Taj Hotel, Mumbai attack by Islamic terrorists from Pakistan in November, 2008 claimed over 167 lives, most of them Indians, and also some foreign nationals.










Pakistan based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked Taj Hotel, Mumbai on 26 November, 2008. There was an almost complete silence on such Islamic terrorism around the world, especially by Muslims.
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