Evil has co-opted “Christian” words: Kuik Shiao-Yin on rightwing reaction to the Christchurch shootings
Kuik Shiao-Yin // March 18, 2019, 6:45 pm
Outside the Al Huda Mosque in New Zealand. Photo by Mark McGuire on Flickr
What happened in New Zealand was a terrorist attack. The Prime Minister of New Zealand named it as did our own political leaders in Singapore.
What may surprise some of us is how hard it is for leaders in some other countries to do so.
“Terrorist attack” is the accurate name for what happened. A few individuals raised on extremist ideas intentionally planned to use violence in the most spectacular public manner to terrorise their specific victim group and the broader public.
Sometimes they cross national borders to raise havoc in another country.
Hidden by a new veil
The attackers in Christchurch did not turn out to be most people’s stereotypical image of a terrorist.
Extremist right-wing ideology is another new face of terrorism we must speak out against and condemn.
From reports, it appears there is one main perpetrator – a 28-year-old white Australian male. Others, including an 18-year-old, have been arrested for suspicious behaviour, but no direct connection to the incident has been made so far.
The main perpetrator did not have to sneak off to another country to be indoctrinated in violence and steeped in the darkest of thinking. It appears he was just steeped in the darkest corners of the online world.
He had deliberately designed his terrorist manifesto to be spread online. It’s not just the platforms he used but the intentional name-dropping of major social media influencers, baiting them to speak out against the name-dropping and thus, inadvertently, spread the terrorist manifesto even further to their millions of followers.
Extremist right-wing, anti-immigration ideology is just as capable of creating violent terrorists as any extremist religious ideology.
This is another new face of terrorism we must speak out against and condemn.
If we let such statements go silently, we may be indicating that we Christians accept that as a legitimate response, should it have happened to us.
In Australia, a far-right Australian senator has been rightfully condemned by his own country’s prime minister for disgracing their parliament for releasing a public statement blaming immigration and the “growing fear … of the increasing Muslim presence” (in his country!) for why his own countrymen crossed national borders to kill Muslims in another country.
Those terrorists could very well have chosen to come into Singapore instead of New Zealand to target our own Muslim community in our own mosques.
Such ridiculous statements should be treated with contempt.
This far-right senator also dropped a Bible verse to conclude his statement as if to signal that his views are supported by the Bible and by Christians. That is vile and an insulting abuse of the Word of God.
If we, the Church, let such statements go silently, we may be indicating that we Christians accept that as a legitimate response, should it have happened to us.
Judge a tree by its fruit
The ability to quote Scripture does not make someone a Christian. In the Bible, even the devil could quote Scripture for his own purposes.
In Christianity, it is understood that what makes a Christian is whether, through faith, his or her life bears the fruit of the Spirit.
In the book of Romans, we learn that “those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5)
I hope we can stand together with our own Muslim community in not just grieving but also refusing to allow support for extremist right-wing ideology in Singapore.
A life governed by the Spirit of God produces clear outcomes: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
We will know believers by their fruit, not simplistically by their words.
The Australian senator does not speak for Christ; He does not speak for Christians. He speaks only for himself and the extreme-right political agenda that he represents which paves the way to division, hatred, violence, death.
Romans 12:9-21 instructs us on how to live out a life in love that does not lead to death and violence: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:9), “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18), and “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
I hope we can stand together with our own Muslim community in not just grieving for this horrible attack but also refusing to allow support for extremist right-wing ideology to grow in Singapore.
It is evil and it has learnt to co-opt Christian language to grow its support base.
This post was first articulated on https://www.facebook.com/shiaoyin and is reproduced with permission.
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