Is Jacinda Ardern a Muslim
Mourning Muslims in New Zealand : Ardern's gesture thwarted the strategy of exclusion
An imam and a priest stand hand in hand. Friday prayers at Al-Nur Mosque in Christchurch will be broadcast live on television and radio. Thousands of New Zealanders have come. Many women wear a headscarf as a sign of solidarity. The prayer is followed by two minutes of silence, and there is silence in large parts of the country. A few days earlier, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern opened the parliamentary session with the Arab message of peace "As-Salaam-Alaikum". She announced that she would never reveal the name of the assassin. She also wears the headscarf.
It is possible not to be touched by such images, to perceive them as helpless gestures or to denounce them as a mourning kitsch. No crime or misfortune will ever conquer cynicism. But maybe cold-hearted defensive reactions show who feels most challenged by fellow human beings. It is the divisors, the polarizers, the profiteers of hatred, right-wing extremists Islamophobes as well as militant Islamists. Brothers in spirit, united in the struggle for people and faith, for ethnicity and ideology.
Both groups reject the West, the emancipation of women, marriage for everyone, democracy, liberalism, individualism. They imagine that they are in an end time in which some have to defend themselves against the "decline of the white race", against "population exchange" and "foreign infiltration", while others are propagating a rigid version of the Koran, the spread of which, even if it is forcibly forced, is God's will. In both Muslim and non-Muslim countries.
The most devastating Islamophobic terrorist attack
Both groups prefer to radicalize themselves online and forego clear management structures. They copy the methods of their militancy from one another. Islamist terror here, Islamophobic terror, such as by the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, there. In Charlottesville, Virginia, a white racist drove his car into a crowd to kill as many counter-demonstrators as possible.
And finally, Christchurch, the most devastating Islamophobic terrorist attack ever carried out in the West. The assassin murdered fifty Muslims, including a three-year-old child, in two mosques. The motive of Islamophobia is seldom stated so clearly. The attack was generally aimed at people, it is said that the attacker was a right-wing extremist, a racist.
Islamophobia - there is obviously too much resentment in this word, from which many right-wing populists are not free. Therefore, of all people, those who usually call for "clear language" at every opportunity circumnavigate it. The New Zealanders, on the other hand, understood who the terror was aimed at. This is evidenced by their impressive reactions of solidarity.
There is consolation over moments of deepest sadness
Gestures are important in politics. They often make a very deep impression. Willy Brandt's kneeling in Warsaw, Rosa Parks' refusal to vacate her seat on the bus for a white man, the visit of then US President George W. Bush to a mosque in the Islamic Center shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks in Washington DC "The face of terror is not the real face of Islam," he said. “Islam is a peaceful religion.” Faith and fanaticism are two different things.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Ardern is now positioning herself just as unequivocally. Each of her gestures signals: I stand by the side of the Muslim victims, Islam belongs to New Zealand. "Thank you for your words and for your tears," said the Imam during Friday prayers at the Al-Nur Mosque. "Thank you for showing us the honor with a simple cloth."
Such ostentatious inclusion thwarts the strategy of exclusion. Islamophobes claim that Islam is incompatible with Western values and that the integration of Muslims is therefore impossible. Islamists claim the same. Muslims are discriminated against, they say, and only by setting themselves apart from the non-Muslim majority society can they practice their faith and preserve their identity.
New Zealand is breaking through this mutually fueling apocalyptic enemy rhetoric. Solace and human decency lie over moments of deepest sadness. Pay homage to Muslims with a simple shawl: It can be so simple.
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