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KUCHING, March 30: Eighteen Muslim non-government organisations (NGOs) in Sarawak have strongly condemned the brutal attack on worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The massacre on March 15 during Friday prayers killed 51 people, including a child, and dozens were injured.
The group, thus, called upon each and every Malaysian to continue practising a culture of respect and understanding such as here in Sarawak, which has indeed proven to be the most critical ingredient for a harmonious society.
“The perpetrator has committed an act of terrorism and a heinous crime against humanity, which must be denounced by each and every international community,” the group said in a statement today.
“It was simply outrageous and detestable in any religion that a crime is committed in a place of worship for the Muslims (mosque) while they were their performing prayers.”
The group stressed that Islam is a religion of peace and promotes peace among humankind.
“Islam rejects any kind of terrorism, hostility, hatred, disunity and other negative elements among us. We hold onto the principle that we should respect and appreciate each other notwithstanding our beliefs or religions, ethnicity, creed or colour.”
The right to practise one’s religion, it added, has been enshrined and guaranteed under international and Malaysian law.
“We believe that any law-abiding citizens of any country love peace, harmony and other universal values inherent in our religious teachings; thus, do not condone any act of radicalism or extremism.
“Islam teaches us to protect and appreciate humanity as the best creation of God. Any act that contradicts this principle of human dignity and religious freedom are very much against the tenets of Islam.”
The group pointed out that the noble values prescribed and advocated by Islam clearly maintained that each life created by God is precious and must be respected and defended not only by individuals but also by the community or the country.
“Noble values such as the importance of respect, mutual understanding and tolerance, fairness and humility should be inculcated and nurtured among us. We should not let our differences be a dividing factor but should, in fact, utilise it as a meeting point for us to know and understand one another.”
The group also urged the media, especially Western media, to be fair when reporting about Islam or Muslims, as wrong or unjust reporting could lead to Islamophobia and misperceptions of Islam.
“We reiterate that Islam is a religion of peace and blessings (`rahmah’) to the universe. Such noble values that Islam uphold could provide a long term solution to radicalism and extremism.”
The Muslim NGOs showing solidarity and support for its Muslim community in New Zealand included Persatuan Kebajikan Asyraaf Malaysia cawangan Sarawak, Pertubuhan Ikatan Muhibbah Permuafakatan Islam Sarawak (IMPISS), Majlis Perundingan Pertubuhan Islam Malaysia (Mapim) Sarawak, Pertubuhan Komuniti Harmoni Sarawak (Harmonis), Sahabat YADIM Negeri Sarawak and Yayasan Amal Malaysia Sarawak.
This included Ikatan Graduan Melayu Sarawak, Urusetia Saudara Kita, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Saudara Kita Sarawak, Persatuan Ranuhabban Akhi ukhti (PrAU), IKRAM Kawasan Kuching, Persatuan Dayak Muslim Kebangsaan, Pertubuhan Halaqah Kemajuan Muslim Sarawak (Hikam), PERKIM Bahagian Negeri Sarawak, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia Sarawak (Isma), Yayasan Ikhlas Sarawak, Ikram Negeri Sarawak and Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) Sarawak. — DayakDaily