In response to the attack on two mosques during Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand on 15 March 2019, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of New Zealand has published an open letter expressing its profound sorrow and condemning the attack.
The National Assembly is the governing council of the Baha’is of New Zealand, and it offered its prayers “with the Muslim community and all those who are now grieving.” The entire letter can be read here.
The letter, addressed to fellow New Zealanders, speaks to all of us in its call to draw closer together in response to the tragedy:
Let us examine the powerful and destructive social forces that have led to this tragedy, and the still more potent powers of the human spirit that can establish unity, justice and harmony in our society. Let us reflect on our shared identity, not only as New Zealanders but as members of a single human race.
The National Assembly also reflects on the special role of youth and children in creating a better world, and refers to the responsibility of adults in helping to guide them:
It is the responsibility of adults to comfort and counsel our young people, to give them hope, to listen to their views, and to support their efforts towards personal growth and social change. With this loving encouragement, the young people of Aotearoa may – in the words of a well-known Bahá’í prayer for youth – “guide the wayward, lead the hapless, free the captives and awaken the heedless”.
In Canada, the Baha’i Community of Canada made the following statement on social media: “We are deeply saddened by the recent violent, terrifying attack on worshippers during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We join many others in praying and calling for peace, tolerance, and religious understanding in the wake of this attack.”
The Baha’i Community of Canada is also part of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation, which expressed its sadness at the news of the shootings and pledged “ongoing support to all faith communities around the world that experience persecution.”