51 seconds for Christchurch on 15 April

Jews, Christians, and Muslims will be falling silent for 51 seconds at 1:40pm on 15 April to remember the Christchurch mosque attacks of 2019. National and local commemorations for the attacks were cancelled last month due to COVID-19, and this is a chance for people to remember the attacks in their own way.

“With the whole country in lockdown, it’s more important now than ever to act together, and pause briefly in silence to think about how we can make our society more inclusive,” says Dave Moskovitz, the Jewish Co-Chair of the Wellington Abrahamic Council of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. “We’re asking people in each household to take less than a minute out of their day on 15 April to think: what can I do, what can our community do, and what can New Zealand do to stop hatred in our thoughts, words, and actions?”

Christian Co-chair Father Ron Bennett adds, “We’re a month late for the 15 March anniversary. It’s sad that commemorations were cancelled last month, but we couldn’t let this important event in New Zealand history go unmarked. We’re asking people to take 51 seconds – that’s one second for each life lost in the attacks – to build a more compassionate society. COVID-19 might slow us down, but it can’t stop us. Better late than never.”

Islamic Women’s Council of NZ Coordinator Anjum Rahman says that it is not Muslim practice to commemorate the deaths of specific people as death is a transition from one stage of life to another. “These attacks had a strong impact on our wider society. Many of us feel less safe now than we did before the attacks, and every person in our country has the basic human right to not fear for their lives, no matter what their religious beliefs are, nor how they might identify as a person. Celebrating difference and valuing others is the best way to counter hate.”

So on 15 April, take 51 seconds to remember the Christchurch mosque shootings, and join Jews, Christains, and Muslims around the country to think about how we’ve changed, and what we can do to make our society more inclusive. Please share this, and invite your friends to our Facebook Event.

Abrahamic Council Condemns Anti-Semitic and Misogynist Statements

The Wellington Abrahamic Council of Jews, Christians and Muslims has totally rejected the intolerant anti-Semitic speeches of Auckland cleric Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib. Such pronouncements are irresponsible, insensitive and hurtful to Jewish people.

“Our Council represents our religious communities in a common goal: to overcome the evils of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination between people of different religions and ethnicity,” said Sultan Eusoff, Muslim Co-Chair of the Wellington Abrahamic Council.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is a tolerant and peaceful nation. Divisive and misogynist teachings from any religious leader do not belong here”, said Dave Moskovitz, Jewish Co-Chair of the Council.

“The Council works together for religious harmony in New Zealand and therefore we stand together to unreservedly denounce statements denigrating other religions” said Mr Eusoff.

Mr Eusoff who is also the CEO of the Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand (FIANZ) added that Dr Sahib’s statements do not reflect mainstream thinking within the New Zealand Muslim community, and do not represent the position of FIANZ or any of its constituent organisations. “We’ve been working with Christians and Jews for years to improve relations, and have succeeded in doing so. We’re not going to let the rantings of one cleric destroy our achievement of making New Zealand one of the few countries that enjoys excellent relations between the organisations and people representing the Abrahamic faiths.”

In these difficult times, the Wellington Abrahamic Council calls for New Zealanders of all races and religions to rally together to build bridges across different ethnicities and help keep our country safe and secure for ourselves, our families and friends.

Should there be religious limits to freedom of expression?

Prof Paul Morris at Victoria University’s Religious Studies Department and the Robert Mackay from the World Parliament of Religions have organised the following seminar…

What: Should there be religious limits to absolute media freedom of expression?
When: Monday, 10 August 2015 6.15-8.15pm
Where: Victoria University Council Chambers, Level 2, Hunter Building, Kelburn campus

Paul Morris will provide a plenary, with a panel afterwards comprising Dave Moskovitz, Tayyaba Khan, Jenny Chalmers, Joris de Bres, Tom Scott, Selva Ramasami, and John Shaver, moderated by Ced Simpson.  David Zwartz will sum up.

You can download a flyer with more information.

Note that this is not an official function of the Wellington Abrahamic Council, but the topic will be of interest to our community.