Terrorism has no religion



IT was extremely painful to remember what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand, last Friday. It was a terrorist crime by all means, which led to the death and injuries to scores of innocent men, women and children, who were inside a mosque waiting for the Friday prayer to begin.

This violent incident proves that terrorism has no religion or country. It is the product of extremist thought translated into violence and the disappearance of all human qualities without trace.

As for those who were in the past trying to link terrorism and extremism exclusively to Islam, Muslims and Arabs, as if all the terrorists and extremists of the world belonged to them, their only goal was to plant hatred in people’s minds and take advantage of the tragic events that ensue for their own advantage.

Those who saw the painful and bloody clips of the terrorist massacre on social media might think when they see it for the first time it was one of the violent electronic games widely popular among the youth these days because such games were for killing people even if it is in the virtual world.

No one would have thought that what was being broadcast on social media was of the clips of an actual event played out by a real terrorist who was murdering real people in broad daylight. His aim in documenting his crime was to make the world watch him committing violence. His motive behind this terrorist attack, from the inscriptions and the dates on his machine guns that he used to kill innocent people, was pure hatred toward Muslims and immigrants.

The international community should share the responsibility toward these painful massacres and hate speech, which is not approved by any religion or creed. It is the result of silence and neglect on the part of the global community of hate messages that instigated racism and that were hostile toward other cultures.

This attitude promoted Islamophobia in many European countries, where rightwing extremist groups openly express and spread hatred in the name of freedom of speech.

My deepest condolences go to the victims of the terrorist attack. International organizations and institutions should make hate speech a criminal act by law and hold those who perpetrate them accountable. It is this hate speech that instigates extremism, which in turn lead to terrorist acts.

We need to increase awareness on peaceful coexistence of different communities in an harmonious social setting. We should stand against all forms of racism and hate speech in a way that will protect societies from within. We should put an end to racism and hate speech against people of other faiths and immigrants.

Saudi Arabia condemned this terrorist act as well as extremism in all kinds and forms. Saudi Arabia reaffirms that terrorism has no religion or country. It called on international the community to respect religion and isolate extremist elements from society. It is high time we fought hate speech with all our might.