On March 15, 2019, we awoke to news of 49 killed and dozens injured in shooting attacks at mosques in New Zealand, which had long been considered a haven from such violence. After shock and sorrow, our immediate desire was to bring light, love, and healing to these tragic circumstances. Here are some ways to help; you can also sign this Groundswell petition to send love and solidarity to the Muslim families of New Zealand.
At such times prayers bring consolation and guidance, too. We asked Habib Todd Boerger, a 2018-19 Fellow with the Practicing Democracy Project, if he would compose a dua — a Muslim petitionary prayer — for the victims. He sent the following heartfelt response, for which we are deeply grateful.
And so we pray this news ...
Beloved Lord, Beloved God,
Here we are Lord, before you, with our hearts hurting, as yet more senseless acts of violence have taken the lives of many, and the pain of their loss ripples through their families, loved ones, communities, and across the world.
We beseech You on behalf of those who were killed — mercy, forgiveness, peace.
We beseech You on behalf of their loved ones — patience, strength, healing.
We beseech You on behalf of those who participate actively or inactively in acts of violence — guidance, truth, awareness.
Beloved Allah, all glory and praise to You, You have taught us in Your Holy Qur’an (5:32) that taking the life of one person is like taking the life of all humanity, and that saving the life of one person is like saving the life of all humanity — please give us awareness of the sanctity of life; please give us gratitude for the gift of life; please help us to preserve the gift of life for us all.
Beloved God, please help us to behave with respect, with compassion, with humility, with kindness, with politeness as regards our differences. Please help us to leave our differences to You for You to decide upon. Please help us focus on common ground rather than on areas of dissent. Please help us to remember that we are all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, that we are all brothers and sisters — that You created each of us, and that You created our differences so that we might better know ourselves and each other, and thereby grow in knowledge and understanding of You.
Beloved God, You have sent us many messengers with the message of Your Oneness. If we know our respective religions well, we know that there is only one religion — the religion of love and peace and mercy and justice and freedom for all without separation. We beseech You on behalf of all those who are hurting, on behalf of all those who are oppressed and those who are oppressing, on behalf of all of humanity – to bring us to know our religions well — so that we know this oneness and this love, and so that we live out this love with all of Your creation.