Politicizing Tragedy

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Yasir Qadhi

Channel: Yasir Qadhi

Episode Notes

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi discusses the horrific shooting that targeted Jumm’ah Salah in one of the main masjids of New Zealand, including a second one as well. 

The shooter live-streamed 17 minutes of his massacre, killing a total of 49 innocent people and injuring many others.

May Allah grant peace and Sabr to all those affected in the terrible mass shooting. The Shaykh implores us to be vigilant, make Dua for those affected, and ask Allah for Afiya, for all of us and for the entire Ummah.

 

Episode Transcript

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hamdulillah Isla is niram

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Al Hamdulillah Al Hamdulillah, Camden, Kathy

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Bullock

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Masada

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the Quran tells us

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that enough sin

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is Milady kita.

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It is not possible for any soul to die except with God's permission all of it is determined in God's book. The Quran also teaches us a nema tokunbo Unicode to welcome to February macheda, wherever you are, death shall come to you, even if you seek protection in well guarded fortresses. So the Quran teaches very clearly that death is a necessary part of life. as Muslims we are taught to expect it, and to accept it. We expect it because not only is it inevitable, but it opens up the door for the life to come the eternal life. And we accept it in the sense that we believe no human no king, no executioner, no terrorists can become God and expedite someone's death without the will of God

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Himself. of the names of God, there are 99 that are extra special, and two of them are the giver of life. And the restore and grantor of death. God is the one who gives life and God is the one who takes it away. So Islamic theology teaches us very clearly that God's will is indicative God's Will indicates when a person will die, we cannot change that. But we as Muslims differentiate between God's will and God's pleasure. God knows when people will die. That doesn't mean God is pleased that they are dying. That doesn't mean God is pleased at the mechanism of their death, and how their death takes place. And islamically islamically we are taught that it is possible to be angry at the

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cause of death, even as we stoically accept that death itself is inevitable. And these are the mysterious ways that faith works. And I must confess that for me as a person of faith, sometimes it is only my faith that allows me to cope with and to process the evil that is happening around us. The massacre that took place in New Zealand wasn't the first in the world. And I'm sorry to tell you it will not be the last. It wasn't the first expression of violence against a minority, or even against another faith community. It wasn't the first time a crazed killer wrote a Chilean Manifesto, in which he outlined his reasons for attack Anders brevik did the same in Norway. Although perhaps

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it might be the first time that a terrorist self nominated himself for the Nobel Peace Prize before he committed the deed that he did. I kid you not. He nominated himself for the Nobel Peace Prize, saying that eventually, I will win the Nobel Peace Prize for this deed, unfortunately, had to read that Manifesto, even though I did not want to do it. If there was anything unique about this terrorist act. Perhaps this was the first time in human history that a mass shooter live streamed and broadcasted his massacre on the GoPro that he wore on his helmet. And he allowed 1000s of viewers to watch from his facebook account live as he brutally went about room to room, person to

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person and shot dead 48 people in cold blood and wounded over 50 of which as I speak, another two have died from their wounds. So the grand total of people deceased is 50. And around a dozen are in critical care. That video was deleted by Facebook, but you can't delete social media. And it was downloaded and viewed at latest estimate 15 million times. And that's just the estimates that technology experts have an Only God knows how many people have actually seen that video. And I must confess, I too was exposed to snippets of that video in my Facebook feed, but I refused to watch it or download it. Nonetheless, one snippet did make its way onto mainstream media and even onto news

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channels. And that was when he first met he entered the mosque and he meets his first victim as he walks into that mosque, a 71 year old grandfather by the name of hygiene nebby who had come to New Zealand in 1979, cleaning the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. He was actually one of the original founders of that very mosque. And he was also the head of a charity that helped settle refugees

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In New Zealand, his powerful words as he turned directly and face the shooter, and inadvertently the GoPro as well, his powerful words resonated with the entire world. And they were as he extended his arms, perhaps not recognizing him as a killer, or perhaps attempting to invoke some humanity recognize him as a killer. We'll never know. His last words as he opened up his arms were welcome, brother.

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And those two words were the last words that he uttered before that gun brought an end to his 71 year old life. For the next 20 minutes. The shooter went from room to room, armed to the hilt, knowing full well that he was entering the mosque at what would be the most jam packed portion of the entire week, the very beginning of the Friday sermon, and he perpetuated the worst mass shooting in the history of New Zealand. Then, with his GoPro still running, and his adrenaline and high as he himself admitted on his video, he went back to his car and drove to the second mosque, where he proceeded to kill a further seven people, until a very brave man, by the name of Abdul Aziz, the

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servant of the all powerful the man's name was the one who worships the one who has might. So this man, the one who worshipped the God of mites, was brave enough to tackle him, forced him to flee and the person then fled and was apprehended by the police.

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In the aftermath as we go over that long list, where does one begin? The youngest of his victims, was three years old, little musavat, who was separated from his father and his older brother's seven year old in the chaos that ensued, only to be left alone with a cold and ruthless killer, who didn't even see fit to spare a toddler. When the older brother was asked to describe his younger brother yesterday, as he's trying to control his tears, he said, most likely to smile and laugh a lot. And then he went quiet. And then he added as only a seven year old could, and he also loved his iPad.

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The second youngest was four year old four year old Abdullahi, who had whose family had fled civil war and Islamic radicals in Somalia, only to see their youngest son be killed in a hail of bullets in a hate crime by a white supremacist in New Zealand.

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Almost every mosque in the Western world as all of us Muslims are familiar with has its share of converts, and much of the news in New Zealand was no different. And for them, their main center of attention would be Miss Linda Armstrong, a 65 year old third generation kiwi, who had embraced Islam a few decades ago, and whose kitchen everyone knew because she invited everybody to her house. It wasn't just individuals who died as well families died in that tragedy. There was the newlywed couple from the Indian state of Canada, not as in an unseen who had the both of whom had taken out a loan to start a new life in New Zealand. On see the bride had just finished her master's degree and

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graduated three weeks ago and she was excited to be starting her first job. They both lost their lives on that day. He on the brothers side she on the sister site and we can take comfort as Muslims that they will inshallah God Willing be perpetually celebrating their honeymoon on the other side of this door known as life. Another family was done over an amazing awesome a father and son who were celebrating a new arrival in the family Ramiz, his wife had just given birth, and they had gone from the hospital to the prayer and she was expected to be discharged that very evening. But it means this father and mother had come to New Zealand to help with the delivery, not knowing that they

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would not return and Ramiz his wife, indeed was discharged on that Friday night. But not only did she have to take care of a newborn, she now how to arrange to funerals as well. One of the most inspiring stories is that a 50 year old named Rashid, an engineer who had come from Pakistan back in the 80s and in fact can be seen in the gopher pritish in the GoPro footage directly running towards the shooter attempting to tackle him jumping on the shooter, only to be shot straight in his tracks by a spurt of bullets from the machine gun name will be posthumously honored

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his country of origin Pakistan with a medal of honor that is being awarded by the prime minister to the family of nine minutes Lama but

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the story of 45 year old hosts now, a Bengali wife, who was the primary take care caretaker of her disabled husband is also moving. She first led a bunch of women and children to safety when the bullet started, she led them outside the mosque. Then she doubled back in to try to save her husband because her husband was apparently Legion on a wheelchair. And the gunman shot her as she entered the mosque, not as she was exiting, and her husband only found out the next day. And he actually saw the GoPro video of the killer shooting his wife, as his wife entered the mosque to come and rescue him. Unbelievably, this husband, an elderly bespeckled man with a pepper and salt beard, wheelchair

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bound, soft spoken and herbal doctor. He has powerful words that encourage all of you to listen to. He publicly stated that not only will he forgive the killer, whom he said, probably hadn't experienced any love as a child. He actually himself said, I love this man for his humanity. And I pray and I hope that someday this man by the way, this man murdered his wife and another 50 people, this man would one day turn his life around, and perhaps save lives just as he had one day taken them. Where does this forgiveness and love come from? I cannot fathom it. Even as a matter of I can go on and on. And I really wish I really wish that we would do that. Because those 50 people who

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passed away weren't just numbers. They weren't just statistics. They were human being. And for many of us in this room, they mirrored our own lives. We see ourselves and our stories in them. They are so familiar, because they are collectively us. And they symbolize the microcosm that is Islam in the Western world, the terrorist whom I refuse to honor by mentioning his name, the terrorist specifically wrote in his manifesto, that he targeted New Zealand because it was considered a safe country. He wanted to send a message that minorities and especially Muslims are not safe in any Western land.

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What all of us Muslims painfully understand is that this tragedy, even if it took place, literally across the globe, is very much a local tragedy. Ironically, the mosque where they prayed is called mestu the norm, which is the name of the first mosque here in Memphis, located barely 10 minutes away, next to you when mustard the new one, the mosque of late that mosque, that massacre could very well have been our massacre. Those victims could have been any of us and our loved ones. Because the root cause of that massacre wasn't indigenous to New Zealand. It didn't sprouts in the land of Kiwis know, the root cause of that violence is now mainstream and rampant in most parts of the Western

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world.

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We are told that it is impolite to politicize tragedies, out of respect for the dead. Ironically, those who ask us to not politicize tragedies typically seem to be the very first to politicizes if it fits their particular agenda and narrative. Nonetheless, we are told we should not politicize tragedies. While they can fully understand the genuine plea for not bringing in politics into moments of griefs. In this particular instance, it was politics that came barging into the mosque. It was politics that disturbed the peace of the mosque. It was politics that entered into a house of worship that was meant to be a safe space. It was meant to be a refuge. We are not the ones

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politicizing this tragedy. On the contrary, there would be no tragedy had it not been for the climate and politicization that is rampant in our own societies. Barely a few months ago, around a dozen people were killed in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Before that two people were stabbed to death by racists in Portland, who yelled both Islamophobic and racist slurs at his HIV victims. Before that, a gunman stormed a mosque in Quebec City in Canada and killed six people. While we're at it. Let's not forget Charleston and the massacre of African Americans were gathered to simply read from their Bible and the list goes on and on and on. In fact, every single terrorist attack on our

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American soil

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I repeat, every single attack for the last year and a half has been perpetrated, not by minorities, not by Mexican migrants, not by Islamic radicals. But by far right, white supremacists, even as the most powerful politician in the world, not only denies their existence, but surrounds himself with those very people in his office and staff, this climate of fear, and xenophobia does not really need to be explained to most of us in this audience, we are painfully aware that this feeling of hate has been created by a select group of politicians and fueled by a very willing segment of the media. And it is not a coincidence that that killer is coming from Africa from Australia, where a number of

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surveys have shown that Australian politicians in particular are amongst not the people. I've been to Australia a number of times, and the people are very nice, but they're groups of politicians, including the Prime Minister, and including a particular politician, a senator from Queensland, who actually blamed Muslims and the Muslim immigration right after the massacre. He said it's not the fault of the shooter. It's the fault of the Muslims who came to our land, xenophobia, Islamophobia, all other phobias have gone mainstream, and it is now acceptable, perhaps even encouraged by some to demonize and stigmatize the proverbial other. You know, my religion teaches me to be optimistic. It

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is a part of my theology, the Quran tells us always find the light in the darkness always look at the positive in any negative situation. Yet, I confess to you not only as a believing Muslim, but as a cleric, as a true believer of my faith, that this tenant of my faith is one of the most challenging even for me, in this particular gloomy period.

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However, we cannot be swallowed, we cannot allow ourselves to be swallowed by the darkness of hate. And we have to look at the positive. And indeed there is positive, there is a rising tide of positiveness, a shining light, that perhaps right now is not as strong as the dark, but we have to believe that it will be stronger.

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A certain politician of our land was elected on the native his slogan that he wanted to make America great again.

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In my humble opinion, the only way we can fight against that bigotry and injustice, is to embrace that slogan and turn it against the very person who had a very different meaning. God willing, we will make America great again, but not the way that that politician had in mind, the only way to make America great again, is by doing this here, what we're doing right now, the only way to really show the humanity of who we are, to really show that we can rise up above the bigotry, the xenophobia, the hatred, that has now gone mainstream, is to show this very love that we are demonstrating right here tonight, this coming together of people from different backgrounds, from

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diverse religious denominations, or no religion at all, from different political affiliations, and forming this unity, not out of diversity, but out of the common humanity that we have not divisiveness, but looking to each other, and recognizing we might be different, but what unites us is far more than what differentiates us. And what differentiates us does not need to make us scared. We don't need to be scared of somebody who was different. We don't need to tremble in heart. If somebody prays differently or doesn't pray at all, or somebody looks different. We are all essentially human. And unless and until we recognize that unless and until we see through the veneer

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of hatred that is being propped up by a small group of people. We will be living in those dark times. But one of the things that we see and with this, I conclude

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the evil that is now raising the specter of bigotry and xenophobia, it is causing a massive positive backlash. And that backlash is minorities like ourselves, like our Jewish colleagues and brethren, like the African Americans like Latinos, all of us minorities, we might have kind of fallen short a few decades ago, to build those bridges between ourselves, we might have all been in our own individualistic bubbles happy and content with their own small lifestyles. But you see, all of us minorities put together actually are a majority. And if we all reach out to our neighbors, to our colleagues or friends, if we all reach out to those that perhaps before this hatred, we didn't feel

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the need to reach out to and that is a shortcoming that I have and I confess many of us had it but if

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That hatred causes us to recognize that we need to love people that are different than us. If that hatred causes that love to come out, then indeed we shall be victorious. And we shall win over that, Adrian. And we shall find that peace and that love and that mercy, even in that haze of bigotry and hatred, and through that finding of love, we shall indeed make America great again. Thank you very much. And I asked God, the almighty to bring our hearts together and to allow us to see through the differences that we have and to unite upon the common platform of humanity and love. God bless was sent on morning