For the rest of his days, for every breath until his last, the Australian gunman who killed 51 worshippers will remain behind bars, left to ponder his heinous act of terror.
We will not name him — he deserves no such notoriety — but he pleaded guilty to the March 2019 Christchurch mosque massacres. He was sentenced in a court there, destined to spend the rest of his natural life incarcerated without any chance of parole.
Perhaps it is a good thing that New Zealand has no death penalty — such a punishment would be too swift, and better it is to let this killer stew on his hate-filled actions for the rest of his natural days.
The sentencing of the gunman is but the latest chapter in this act of terrorism against a peace-loving people at prayer. This act of terrorism exposed the vile and heinous nature of right-wing ideologues who lap up anti-Muslim hate writings and spew Islamophobia
Certainly, the four-day sentencing hearing in Christchurch allowed the survivors and victims’ families an opportunity to ease their pain and suffering a little. But in all of the sadness and revulsion in that court, there was joy too — showing the true spirit of Islam, its peace and its joy, attributes devoid in this murderer.
The sentencing of the gunman is but the latest chapter in this act of terrorism against a peace-loving people at prayer. This act of terrorism exposed the vile and heinous nature of right-wing ideologues who lap up anti-Muslim hate writings and spew Islamophobia.
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Purveyors of hate on social media
But the Christchurch massacre also showed that this poison can be countered by an antidote of compassion and caring. New Zealand was swift to take decisive action against the purveyors of hate on social media.
It was swift too to disarm its populace and remove the dangerous threat of semi-automatic assault rifles in a peace-loving and open society. That should serve as a lesson for other nations who fail to understand that such weaponry has no place in a modern civilised society.
In the hours and days after this tragedy, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was quick to offer support, shred preconceptions and spread hope during a time of darkness.
For that alone, she is cherished as a decisive leader, compassionate and graceful — attributes that make her rare in the pantheon of political leadership worldwide. Other nations would do well to take note sincerity trumps bombast every time.
We can only hope that such a hate-filled act shall never happen again. The message of Islam is one of peace and respect for all. And the world certainly needs more of those.