New Zealand

One in every thousand New Zealand Muslims died in the Christchurch attacks. To them, it felt as if the entire Muslim community lost someone they knew.

This Jummah, the world reached out to that suffering community in beautiful, unexpected, human ways.

“For many, New Zealand was their choice, the place that they chose to come to and committed themselves to, the place they chose to raise their families,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “We were chosen… because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it.”

She added: “Those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack ”

And they weren’t. New Zealanders took to social media to help coordinate the response to the Christchurch attacks, while people the world over reached out in any way they could.

And that expression went beyond coordinating through social media. From New Zealand to England to Boston and Chicago, a spirit of interfaith warmth spread through the whole of the world in the shadow of terrorism. As it has so many times before — from September 11th to Charlie Hebdo to this place and time. Even when imperfect, the spirit of humanity is one of unity in the face of adversity.

That interfaith warmth extends to the wide array of charitable causes unified in sharing a helping hand this Jummah. And that’s produced amazing results so far.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has set up a fund to donate to the Christchurch victims. You can donate here. There is also an official donation page with Givealittle. And there\s a LaunchGood fund that will be distributed by the New Zealand Islamic Information Center.

Following initial reports calling the Christchurch mosques “peaceful”, Twitter lit up with pictures and stories of the banal beauty of everyday worship at mosques around the world. The hashtag, #PeacefulMosques, is a ride through that beautiful banality and carries powerful images and stories in the shadow of adversity.

As is unfortunately rote at this point, this outpouring of support also came from political leaders, including Presidents, Prime Ministers and monarchs as well as mayors and legislators.

“I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives,” read a statement from Queen Elizabeth. “I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured. At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders.”

And in a time of such extreme anguish, the everyday kindness of humanity can be beautiful to the point of tears.

We encourage readers to take a moment and find a way to support local Islamic communities or Christchurch directly.


Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.

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