“Don’t Let Them Mourn”

In the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre, you would expect Christians to be taking up the call to mourn with those who mourn – particularly because it’s widely recognised that Australia and New Zealand are sisters.

However, over the past four days, I’ve noticed an increasing number of Christians not only remain silent about this atrocious crime but actually reacting to the media attention and mourning that followed by posting up news articles and tributes to the slaughter of Nigerian Christians by Islamic militants.

Before I get to my point, I want to express how horrific, terrifying, and purely evil the attacks on Nigerian Christians have been. They are being hunted by Fulani terrorists; run down, maimed, tortured, and killed. Their houses are being burnt down, their land stolen, and their lives violently cut short. Most of the victims are children, women and the elderly. It is unacceptable for the United Nations to sit still about this, and we should rightly be aware, heart-broken, and stirred to action.
What I want to address is not any lack of significance of this, but the timing of the Christian news reports and subsequent Christian following on social media.

The Fulani attacks on Nigerian Christians have been happening for months, if not years. And yes, this year in particular has seen some particularly large and terrible massacres – but it is not a coincidence that most of the articles about it have been posted only after the recent attack on Muslims[1]. Thomas Williams wrote two reports on the topic for Breitbart. In his second article, he makes it clear that he is writing in reaction to the attention on Christchurch. In his first article – written the day after the shooting – he mentions Fulani attacks on Christians that happened on the 4th of March. Ironically, he did not deem these attacks worthy to report until Muslims were slaughtered and people cared.

The idea of “People shouldn’t be mourning for Muslims when Christians are dying too” is never explicitly portrayed, but easy to pick up through his writing, timing, and lack of previous attention to the matter. It is whispering to our hearts “Don’t let them mourn.”
This notion is perpetuating the “us versus them” mentality between Christians and Muslims that is ultimately contributing to these murderous attacks.

Yes, it is unjust that news outlets don’t cover the massacre of our people, whose own governments refuse to protect. But media outlets don’t cover attacks on Muslims in third world countries either. Secular news outlets are inherently racist and fear-mongering. They have always been anti-Jew, anti-Christian, and anti-Islam unless it benefits them. Any mature adult should know this by now. You cannot expect Christian ideals, morals and “fairness” from the secular world.

But even still, is it really that Australian news is pro-Nigerian massacre? Or is it, perhaps, the recognition that we don’t expect or tolerate hatred in our country. Perhaps we are particularly affected by this shooting because we expect that such evil shouldn’t occur, and should be prevented from occurring, in Australia and New Zealand. We expect our inhabitants, governments, education system and laws to protect people of all faiths from being gunned down while they pray. And we should expect that. In comparison to developing countries, Australia and New Zealand very rarely see such attacks. The news of the Christchurch shootings was shocking in all the wrong ways; hence such a strong reaction.

Not only that, but many of those who were slaughtered on Friday had fled from war-torn countries to New Zealand to seek peace and safety. They had trusted us to protect them, and they were still made victims of terror.
We mourn for the lost. We mourn for their families, their friends, and their communities.
We mourn that they trusted us to protect them, and we failed.

The attacks in Nigeria are not in any way less terrible than the attacks in Christchurch. In fact, I would say they are all the more appalling. More abhorrent still is the lack of attention and action from news outlets and governments. But if the slaughters in Nigeria were not urgent to you before the massacre of Muslim people in New Zealand, then perhaps your attention to them now is not born out of concern, but out of deep-seated fear of, and opposition to, Islam (and by extension, Muslim people – who God loves, by the way).

There will be a time to speak up more intentionally about the terror in Africa, but during this time of healing for our communities, mourn for Africa in a righteous, prayerful manner – not by opposing others. As Christians, it is right to let the Muslim and New Zealand community mourn. It is right not only to let them, but to join our hearts with them in mourning.

We do not grieve as the rest of the world about the death of our brothers and sisters; for we have our hope in Jesus[2]. Our confidence in Christ allows us the strength to mourn with those who mourn. It allows us to be their strength, and to offer them the hope we share.


[1] The Christian Post has been following these events since their beginning, and is a great resource for following global Christian news and knowing how to pray specifically for those in other countries.

[2] 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

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