Dear brothers and sisters,

You must all of course now be aware about the shootings that took place in the masajid, the Al-Noor mosque and the Lynwood mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Our first response of course is Ina lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon. To Allah we belong and to Allah is the ultimate return.

That indeed is to Allah is what he gives and to Allah is what he takes and everything in this world is for its appointed time.

My first message is to the family members who are still alive and those who are wounded. May Allah be your protector, may He give you quick recovery, and may He bring those who were involved in this against you to justice.

As for those who passed away, what better death could there be in the sight of Allah SWT than when you’re facing Allah in the masjid on a Friday, going out to give your prayers in this period of time.

As a famous scholar once said, death only comes once so let it be in the way of Allah, when you’re facing the Qibla and praying to Allah SWT with your heart and your head raised and bowed in front of Him. That is the ultimate supreme supplication.

Allah SWT says in his noble book in surah Al-Imran:

“O’ you who believe fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except in a state of being Muslims.”

In relation to this attack, we know for a fact that this is something that we’ve been told was unexpected in New Zealand, this idyllic place at the far corners of the earth.

Someplace that you could never imagine that such an attack would take place. Some people might think that that is the case, only an attack like this happened two years ago in Quebec in a masjid in idyllic Canada, where people also thought something like this would never happen. Yet it happened. Somebody walked into a mosque and shot people dead.

You heard the story of Norway. A man walked into an area where children were playing, learning and studying, and kills them in the name of his ideology. We see this repeatedly. We see masajid besieged sometimes in America, in Texas for example, where armed groups come along to demonstrate with their fundamental constitutional right to carry arms outside the masjid, with their weapons, with their M16s, trying to intimidate and terrify the Muslim population.

So this isn’t something that is new, this isn’t something that is unexpected. The rise of far-right views, the rise of views that are anti-Muslim, that are Islamophobic, is well documented.

That is why Britain for example can pass law after law after law that almost exclusively targets the Muslim community. That is why despite somebody like Baroness Warsi, who is  part of the Conservative Party, saying that Islamophobia has passed the dinner-table test and says even now as we speak that Islamophobia is endemic within the Conservative party – they will brush it off and say there is no such thing.

That’s why you can see, whether it’s the left or the right – and I must say that the War on Terror began under Labour – the targeting of Muslims, placing them in Guantanamo Bay, cruelly, inhumanely and degradingly treating them.

An endless War on Terror, that has been conducted through drone strikes and bombing strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

It is as if Muslim blood is allowed to be spilled cheaply. Whether it is far-off lands or as we can see now, it has come home in these safe spaces.

Voices that hate or peddle Muslim hatred are mainstreamed.

They are institutionalised, they come from the top. When Britain’s former foreign secretary can say that Muslim women look like ‘bank robbers’ or they look like ‘letterboxes’, then you hear of attacks against Muslim women happening, it is only a few steps away from actually as in this case, killing them.

There are organisations like the Henry Jackson Society of whom its director, Douglas

Murray, infamously stood in front of a parliament, in a European nation and said, “conditions for Muslims must be made harder across the board”.

The former head of the UK Charities Commission, Sir William Shawcross, who said that “Europe and Islam is one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future”.

So when you have got this kind of rhetoric happening my dear brothers and sisters, there is no wonder that it trickles down to ordinary people whether it’s the Tommy Robinsons, or Katie Hopkins or other hate preachers at ground level.

It is systemic to the point at which this is not even about far-right anymore.

This is why communist China can imprison Muslims en masse, a million at a time and rape and torture them. This is why Hindu nationalist extremists in Modi’s India can target, beat and torture Muslims in the name of “fighting extremism”.

But dear brothers and sisters.

Just as you’re about to make your preparation to go to the masjid for Jumu’ah prayers, remember this: that some of the best companions of the Prophet ﷺ were killed as they prayed.

The story of Umar ibn al Khattab is famous. He was stabbed in the back as he stood in line to pray. But he didn’t let that become an excuse for him not to pray.

You know the story Ali ibn Abi Talib or Az-Zubair Ibn Awwam, both of them killed in the midst of their prayer.

And what better way could there be for us to remember Allah SWT.

If we have forgotten, and amongst us are those who have forgotten what our religion is about, these people who died early this morning according to our time here, at Jumu’ah prayers, died because of upholding the verse in the Quran when Allah says:

“Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.”

They were answering the call of a Allah in this far-off distant land where you would not even think there will be large Muslim communities let alone two masajid.

So let this for us dear brothers and sisters be a time for us to go to the masjid. Men and women and children.

Let in the words of the famous Irish Republican who said let our revenge be the laughter of our children. Let them laugh, let them play, let them be seen, let them nurture in the masjid. Let them understand that their parents go in there head held up high, dressed and looking like Muslims, praying the salawat and remembering Allah.

My message to the Khateebs today is this. If you have remained silent and made your community impotent, as a result of your silence or being constrained by these committees, then be forewarned now. The time has come that you can no longer remain silent and that your congregation can not be dumbed down by issues that are of no relevance when such matters are happening.

You may be calling for security guards to come and defend or protect the masajid.

But really if you have believers there, who their response is when it’s said to them that: “Those to whom hypocrites said: Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” [3:173]

That needs to be our response.

We should not be cowered down or frightened or terrified by the fact the people have let loose and shot and murdered people in the midst of their prayer.  

So my dear my brothers and sisters,

Please just remember this: That this is a very sad day for us. It is a day for us to remember, but we should also remember that the recompense of those people who died performing their duty to Allah, out of their love and hope and fear of him, then their reward can only be the highest rank of paradise.

Shuhada, martyrs in the way of Allah. That’s how we must see such people.

We must see that such people are part of our legacy that they are never forgotten and that we don’t empty the masajid as a result of this rather we fill them regularly. Not just this Jumu’ah  but every Jumu’ah, not just one Salah but all your 5 salawats.

This should be an incentive for us to remember that the masjid is a place where the Muslim’s head goes down on the ground in front of the only entity worthy of worship, and that is Allah, Lord of the worlds.

This article is a transcript of the video below which you can watch here:

Moazzam Begg’s powerful video message

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)