It is with deepest sadness that we at FEMYSO commemorate the Christchurch attacks which took place on the 15th of March 2019. We send our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and to the Christchurch community.
On a day that started like any other for the people of Christchurch, worshippers were attending their customary Friday prayer. However, the day took a turn when an extreme far right individual decided to enter places of worship and unleash a barrage of bullets which took the lives of 51 innocents and destroyed the lives of many more.
The events of that day in Christchurch should have been a wake-up call that the normalisation of Islamophobia had to end. However, instead of supporting and engaging with Muslim communities many have chosen to stoke the fires of this cancer. Through this, we have seen further attacks on faith communities, from the Hanau attack in February 2020 to the Halle synagogue attack in October 2019 and the highly distressing San Diego synagogue attacks in April 2019.
Unfortunately, learning from the past has been a difficult task for humanity. This can be seen in the continuation of the demonization of Muslims and Islam. Only when public hate speeches are not condemned and states remainactive in securitising Islam and Muslims will extremists gain confidence in plotting and committing terror acts.
No group of people should be actively stigmatised, ripped of their freedoms put under state surveillance for the mere fact that they belong to a certain group. This is an unfortunate reality in the majority of our own European Union Member States and other countries around the globe. We need state institutions to proactively listen to our voices and review their policies for our mutual benefit and of course civil society must play an important part in this.
We pray we never see attacks similar to the ones in Christchurch 2019. May we never forget March 15th, and may this be a day for reflecting about the horrible consequences of Islamophobia.
FEMYSO stands with communities and organisations fighting for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity for all. We will continue to work for a more diverse, cohesive and vibrant Europe.