Statements from Quakers re the New Zealand shootings

From the Clerk of Atlantic Half Yearly Meeting

The Atlantic Half-Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) wishes to express its profound sadness over the violent acts of terrorism that have just occurred in New Zealand. The world has also witnessed similar tragedies in Canada, the US and other countries. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Muslim and other faith communities in calling out the ideology of hate and racism that results in these extreme acts of violence. We strive to promote tolerance of all religions and work to bring about the betterment and well being of all our communities.

We are overwhelmed at the devastating grief, loss and sorrow brought on by these outrageous acts. We extend our condolences to the people whose lives will be impacted forever. We hold these victims in the Light during this time of grief and mourning.

We stand committed to our testimonies of equality, integrity, peace and community. We are opposed to all acts of violence; we deplore the proliferation of arms and military style weapons used in these terrorists acts; we abhor the demeaning of anyone based on the colour of their skin, their faith or spiritual practices. We call on all communities to work together to provide places of safety for worship, for learning, for living fully with our families and neighbours. We seek a world where all can live in peace and harmony.

Ellen Helmuth, Clerk AHYM 

From the Canadian national Quaker body:

Quakers (members of the Religious Society of Friends) across Canada express great sorrow and dismay over recent acts of hostility against people whom the attackers have regarded as different and therefore to be hated and destroyed. Two years ago, six worshippers were killed and many more injured at a mosque in Quebec City. Less than a year and a half ago, eleven were killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And most recently, on March 15th, an attacker shot and killed 50 of the faithful and injured almost as many more at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Such terrible acts are a violent affront to everything Quakers believe.

A central testimony of our faith is the upholding of peace, which is destroyed by these acts. We believe also in equality, and intolerance flies in the face of this testimony. The blessed community of all people is rent and ruined by such crimes. As Quakers, we affirm “that of God” – some element of the Divine – in every human being, and we grieve over the snuffing out of the many lives that held that spark.

Our hearts go out to the families and others who loved the victims. We offer our caring and support to members of all faith communities that worship in love and truth. We condemn the ideologies of racism, xenophobia and white supremacy that contribute to the conditions which breed violence. We pray for the perpetrators of such violence, that they may be brought into greater understanding, tolerance, acceptance, and Light.

Beverly Shepherd, Clerk, on behalf of Canadian Yearly Meeting