(photo: Rachel Joy Barehl)
Friday’s terrorist attack in New Zealand is an unspeakable tragedy, and we mourn with the global Muslim community.
This heinous act of violence affects not only the victims in the Christchurch mosques but many Muslims around the world whose sense of safety is jeopardized, particularly in countries where white supremacy has a foothold, such as the United States.
Acts of unchecked hate like this one are the product of misplaced fear, stereotyping, and racism, so if we want to put an end to this kind of violence we need to address these larger issues with creative and pervasive solutions.
This is exactly what we do at Peace Catalyst.
Our work is about bringing Christians, Muslims, and others together to build real relationships. Genuine connection between people of different faith and social groups can actually prevent violence by delegitimizing the idea that a certain community or faith is threatened by diversity.
No matter what community we are part of, if we choose to respond to acts of hate by demonizing another community, violence will only increase. As Romans 12:17-18 teaches, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil…. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” We must stem the tide of hate and do the bold, courageous, and even sometimes scary work of choosing to make peace instead.
It can be done and is being done.
For the last year, Muslim and Christian leaders around the U.S. have been partnering together on a focused effort we’re calling the Seek the Peace Partnership. We’ll be gathering these leaders together in less than three weeks to hear from a former white supremacist, experts on violent extremism, and religious freedom activists.
But the work of peacemaking is not limited to just these leaders. Peacemaking is done by each and every one of us, no matter what we do or where we live.
Friends, the work of preventing terrorism and hate is not simply the job of governments or law enforcement. It involves each and every one of us, including you. Whatever your faith, the world literally needs you to be a peacemaker. YOU can change the world and save lives.
Here are some ways you can make a real difference.
- Start building relationships with people of another faith. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips on how to visit your local mosque and how to start local peace building relationships.
- Attend a Peace Catalyst event in your city, or organize an event of your own.
- Support our work and help us do this work of peacemaking across the U.S. and around the world. 50% of all donations made to our Waging Peace Fund this month will go to support the victims in New Zealand.
Let us remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”