His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday expressed his deep grief over the tragedy of the Christchurch mosque shootings in a letter of condolence addressed to New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Arden. The Christchurch shootings, in which a gunman attacked two Christchurch mosques, killing 50 of the people who had congregated there for their prayers, took place last Friday, and people across the world have been in mourning over the lives that were lost.
In his letter, His Holiness wrote: “I offer my heartfelt prayers for those who died and wish to convey my condolences through you to their families, friends, and the people of New Zealand,” adding that he admired the wisdom, courage, and leadership shown in Arden’s declaration that the victims are part of the family of New Zealanders, while the perpetrator’s actions set him apart, and applauding the way the prime minister and the people of New Zealand have reached out with compassion and support to the members of the Muslim community. (Phayul.com)
“Since we all depend upon others, we have to be inclusive in our concern for them. . . . Wherever I go, I consider myself to be just one among 7 billion human beings alive today. It is unthinkable that today we see people killing each other in the name of religion or out of hostility to another faith. This is why I am committed to creating a greater awareness of the oneness of humanity—the fact that as human beings we are mentally, physically, and emotionally the same,” The Dalai Lama emphasized. (Phayul.com)
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate went on to note that he found it encouraging to see people of all faiths and creeds across the world showing solidarity with Muslims by visiting mosques in the wake of the tragedy. The letter concludes by commending the determination of the New Zealand government to reform national gun laws to contribute to peace and security, but adds that it is “equally important is to resist hatred and fear by cultivating warm-heartedness as you have shown [in the wake of the shooting].” (Phayul.com)
Yesterday, thousands of people from across New Zealand—Catholics, Buddhists, Mormons, Maori, Muslims, and atheists alike—met at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin for a candlelight vigil held in memory of those killed in last week’s shooting. The stadium was the only venue large enough to safely house the expected crowd.
The shooting sent shockwaves through New Zealand and the rest of the world, but was the shock rocked Dunedin particular, since it was revealed that the Australian gunmen had been living in the city for two years while he developed his plan and wrote his manifesto.
During his speech at the gathering, Dunedin mayor Dave Cull addressed the question that has been on the minds of so many peole: “Why did this person come from outside our country, to our community, with such evil intent? Why here? Why among us?” (9 News)
But the more than 20,000 residents gathered in the stadium were determined to show the world that it was not division and hatred, but love and inclusiveness had triumphed, as the chairman of the Otago Muslim Association, Mohammed Rizwan, declared: “He failed because he picked us, and we are here.” (9 News)