Let Christchurch be a lesson against the peddling of fear ― Hafidz Baharom

MARCH 16 ― At times like these, I believe all Malaysians are united in voicing out against the terrorist actions that took place in Christchurch. 49 people lost their lives practising their religious beliefs, in a nation now shocked by the act of violence by one man.

What happened in Christchurch was terrorism caused by extremism.

The reason the gunman live streamed 15 minutes of shooting up a mosque, is to plant terror into the heart of the New Zealand Muslim community.

But more importantly is what motivated him. This, by far, is where all Malaysians should take heed.

The reason the person chose to do such was because of his miseducated belief that somehow Muslims would wipe out the so-called Christian values that he held to such an extreme, he used it as justification for his actions.

This is what extremism means. Taking extreme measures ― either in words and actions ― out of irrational emotions and misguided beliefs, implanted into the hearts and minds of people.

To paraphrase Yoda (of all people) ― fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and as we have seen in New Zealand, the entirety of the nation's people are suffering as a consequence of one man's fall to the Dark Side.

If there is one thing Malaysians need to take from this recent case driven by hatred, it is to not tolerate any of it.

Do not tolerate people preaching hate, towards anyone.

Because that is how it starts. Someone sells the idea of an irrational fear, and just one person who listens decide to make the irrational fear a belief system and takes it to extreme measures.

And this is what happens.

So, mind your words. When you sell an idea that someone who is different needs to be treated differently, you are selling the same idea that led to a gunman going berserk in a mosque.

That gunman could be the person who now believes someone from another religion needs to be feared.

That gunman could be the person who now believes someone from another race, needs to be feared.

That gunman could be the person who now believes someone from another political belief, another sexual orientation, another gender, needs to be feared.

And that fear, sooner or later, triggers anger. And that anger, triggers hate. And that hate, sooner or later, will trigger suffering.

So, be kind. Stop preaching hate. Stand up against hate. Speak up against hate.

Before it becomes an irrational fear.

Our thoughts are with everyone in New Zealand and the community of Christchurch as a whole, as they cope with this heartbreaking event.

My personal hope is that they unite themselves even further in the face of such tragedy, as we here in Malaysia take a lesson to heart on those who seek to divide us using such irrational fears and prejudice.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.