Last week I introduced three topics to be discussed in this space:
Topic 1: June is “Pride Month.” I will come back to Pride month next week. In the meantime, please consult Harmony’s “Pride Month 2021 Activities” page. Pick a couple of activities that catch your interest. And be sure to check out the “Resilient” t-shirt offer!
Topic 3: Remains of 215 children found in unmarked and undocumented graves near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. See last week’s column.
Topic 2 in last week’s list was: Muslim family run down in apparent hate crime. This is today’s topic. To be sure you have the details of event in mind, you may wish to read this article published the day after the event: Muslim family killed…driver charged with murder. The article contains link to other articles published since then.
In very brief summary, on the evening of Sunday, June 6, a young man, 20 years of age, ran down a family of five people out for a walk in their neighbourhood in London, Ontario. The family was dressed in a manner that identified them as Muslim. This is what made them the target of the driver of the truck. Four people are dead and a young boy was taken to hospital. The tragedy has been described as “terrorism” and as a “hate crime.”
What should be the response of the Community of Christ to events such as this?
In no uncertain terms, we must condemn this senseless act that took 4 lives and has irreversibly affected the life of a young boy. To attack a family due to visible clues as to their religious faith is shocking to any of us. We are a church that upholds an enduring principle of the “worth of all persons.” We have a mission initiative that encourages us to “pursue peace on earth.” This event violates much that we hold dear in our Christian faith.
We must express our support for those in our community who are of the Muslim faith. Send a message of condolences and support to the mosque in your city or neighbourhood. Better yet, go visit them and express your support directly. I have not yet done this in response to this incident. At the time of the mass shooting in the mosque in New Zealand two years ago, I went to the local mosque to express my support for them and was received very well and with much appreciation.
Education is always a good option. Learn about the Muslim faith to increase our understanding of their beliefs and practices. Again, perhaps visit the local mosque. Maybe pick up a good book or two about Islam from the library (once libraries are open again!). Or –my favourite– participate in an event offered by the Encounter World Religions Centre.
In our early church history “we” were “the other” in a number of communities in which our church was established. Members were persecuted and actively encouraged to “leave town.” There were even some notable violent incidents in which people died. (Contact me if you would like details about such events.) The persecution and violence against church members was unjustified at that time. The suspicion, hatemongering, and even violence raised against Muslims in our communities is also unjustified.
In our communities many of us can identify people living not far from us who originate from almost any region of the world and practice almost any religion (or none!). The more we can live in peace with each other in our communities, the better the opportunity for the world as a whole to live in peace as well.
As always, I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
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