Former Bishop Kunonga brought to justice

ZIMBABWE: Zanu-PF’s Kunonga Ordered to Repay Anglican Church $430,000

ZIMBABWE: Zanu-PF’s Kunonga Ordered to Repay Anglican Church $430,000
November 18, 2015

PRO-ZANU PF cleric and former Anglican Church bishop for Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, has been ordered to repay some $428,000 looted from the church in a fire sell of assets after he was sacked.

High Court judge, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, ordered Kunonga and his associates to return the money which was realised from the disposal of Church shares in several companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

Kunonga sold the share at a give away price of $270,000 but the court ruled that the church was entitled to recompense at the market value of $427,892, plus interest.

The cleric was fired for misconduct by the Anglican Province of Central Africa in 2006 but refused to leave claiming he was being victimised over his opposition to homosexuality and supporting President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.

A cheer-leader for Mugabe, Kunonga once described the president as a “prophet of God”.

The dispute resulted in violence across the church in Zimbabwe with Kunonga later establishing a rival (Anglican church) and forcibly seizing control of various properties.

A Supreme Court ruling five years later ended the chaos, ordering Kunonga to vacate the properties.

However, Anglican church lawyers, in the latest case, said Kunonga sold, a huge loss, shares in various companies.

These include:

BAT Zimbabwe – 8 391

Dawn Properties – 1 006 486

Delta Corporation – 150 586

DZL – 122 956

Econet – 6 510

Old Mutual – 5 925

Seed Co – 78 641

TN Financial – 1 909 900

ZPI – 864 833

Sale of shares prejudiced Anglican Church members of $427,892.

An audit carried out after the Supreme Court decisive judgment in 2012 revealed that the shares had been unlawfully disposed of.

Harare advocate Thabani Mpofu, representing the church, then issued summons against the breakaway group claiming $529,000.

In his ruling, Justice Mathonsi said Kunonga and his associates should repay $427,892 plus interest calculated from September 2007 to the date of payment in full.

“Clearly, therefore, from the time the first defendant and his followers resolved on August 4 2007 to secede from the plaintiff church, they ceased to have any right over the property of the plaintiff they previously controlled or held in trust,” the judge ruled.


At the time of his despotic rule over the Diocese of Harare in Zimbabwe, Bishop Norbert Kunonga took advantage of his personal friendship with President Robert Mugabe to exercise undue authority over the legal disposition of the property and lives of Harare Anglicans – both in his own diocese and the Anglican Church of Zimabawe.

The extent of Kunonga’s desire to obtain property for his own benefit – rather than that of the Church he was ordained to serve – became clearly obvious, together with his close identification with the Mugabe regime, in its blatant discrimination against the minority homosexual community in Zimbabwe. His identification with Mugabe and other suspicions of mis-rule led the Province of the Anglican Church in Central Africa (of which the Church in Zimbabwe was a part) to relieve him of his diocesan bishopric.

Then, despite his having been replaced by another provincial bishop approved by the Central African Province, Kunonga continued to claim his diocesan position – aided and abetted by President Mugabe and Mugabe’s henchmen – maintaining his episcopal residence and claiming control of Harare Cathedral and other diocesan properties, despite his non-recognition by the official Anglican Church in Zimbabwe and in the Province of Central Africa.

It seems now that his situation; as having usurped the property rights of the Diocese of Harare, and of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe; has been recognised by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, which has ordered the ex-bishop to repay the market value of Church Investments he had mis-appropriated. Justice, at last, can be seen to have been brought about in this saga of injustice to the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe by this deposed, and now discredited, ex-cleric.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand








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Feast of Christ The King – Sunday 22 November


St Matthew's Westminster, Weekly Newsletter 13th February 2015
W E E K L Y    N E W S L E T T E R   | 20th November 2015
Christ the King

The feast of Christ the King was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. It is commonly held that this was a response to the growing tyranny in Europe, but that is not the case. It was actually founded in reaction to Reformation Sunday, observed rather successfully by the Lutheran churches. But here it is now, on the last Sunday of the Church’s year, and for whatever reason it was instituted it now brings our church year to a close. And what is more, it is a feast that is observed by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, and all churches that share the Common Lectionary.

Some might feel uncomfortable with the notion of kingship, and fear that this feast perhaps smacks of religious imperialism. If Christ is the king, then does his church occupy a privileged position? If Christ is the king, is he in such an exalted place as to be inaccessible to those who do not regularly walk the corridors of palaces?

If Christ is the king, then what kind of king is he, and how does he exercise his authority? The notion of kingship was central to Christ’s mission. The synoptic gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak with one voice in telling us that at the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus announced that the ‘kingdom of God’ was drawing near. But at the same time Jesus upended and undermined the established concept of kingship. The kingdoms of this world are characterised by power, glory, prestige; the kingdom Jesus was pointing towards is characterised by service and humility. Kings surround themselves with throngs of fawning courtiers – think of Louis XIV at Versailles, where the nobles were occupied in an endless round of meaningless ceremonies so that they would have no time to plot against the king. In contrast, Jesus surrounded himself with the poor and marginalized. He crossed social, moral, and religious boundaries by accepting women as disciples. His critics charged that he ate and drank with thieves and prostitutes. No lines for him, no barriers to communion. Jesus chooses the lowly, and rejected, as his companions.

In inviting us to enter into this kingdom Jesus opens the door onto a new world of possibility, where common assumptions are subverted, the least regarded are given the place of honour, wrongs are righted and the chains of inevitability are broken. This is where we encounter the kingdom of God, and discover who Christ the king is for our world today.

Fr Philip Chester – St. Matthews Anglican Church, Westminster


Sunday 22 November 2015 brings the Church to the Celebration of ‘Christ The King’ at the close of the Church’s Liturgical Year – prior to ADVENT.

This morning (Saturday, 21 November) I presided at a Votive Mass for the Catholic Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple. The prayers for the Feast reminded us of the fact that Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she was to bear the successor of the Hebrew King David, Christ the Lord, who would one day reign as Christ The King.

In the ”Good Old Days’ at least in the U.K., Anglo-Catholics always celebrated a votive Mass of Our Lady on Saturdays – as a prelude to the Celebration of the weekly Sunday Mass of the Resurrection; connecting the Incarnation of Christ (through his human mother, Mary) with the weekly Feast of Christ Incarnate, crucified, risen and glorified, on Sunday.

Father Philip Chester (Vicar of the Anglican Church of Saint Matthew, Westminster) – around the corner from the R.C. Westminster Cathedral – here presents the background of this important Celebration of Christ as King, Lord of the Church and Redeemer of All.

Interestingly, in its devotion to the Mother of Christ, Saint Matthews, Westminster, is one of those enlightened Anglo-Catholic Churches that supports the Ordination of Women as priests and bishops in the Church of England – on the presumption that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, brought into being from the altar of her womb, the Son of God; in a priestly action   comparable to that of the priest, by the action of the Holy Spirit, presiding over the Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Mass.

Hail to Jesus, King of Glory, present in the Holy Sacrament of the altar.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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We must guard our reactions to ISIS attacks

We must guard our reactions to ISIS attacks

Posted By Bp Gregory Cameron – ACNS

19 November 2015 11:17AM

For the second time this year, a stricken Paris draws our compassion. No-one can remain un-shocked by the second terrorist outrage that this city has had to endure. It is all the worse because this was quite simply an indiscriminate attack; expressing the hatred of the so-called Caliphate of ISIS (“Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”) towards those whom they would like to portray as the crusader states of the West. It is doubly disturbing because this could be the forerunner of similar attacks elsewhere, and any city, any large gathering of people, becomes a potential target.

At a time like this, as well as remembering in our prayers the families of those brutally murdered, we must guard our reactions. We are shocked about Paris; but this meant that we almost entirely ignored Beirut, where there was a similar attack the same weekend. What seems to be happening is that ISIS, which has been suffering some reverses in Iraq and Syria, has launched attacks on soft targets in the Middle East and the West. They’ve used the obvious route into Europe via the mass refugee migration to smuggle fanatics into our midst.

So what should our reaction be? First of all, let’s not victimise the victims. The refugees are fleeing ISIS, not supporting them; so if jihadis are being smuggled in their midst, let’s not tar everyone with the same brush. It all goes to show that a lot more work, and a lot more co-operation, is needed to manage the refugee crisis. It would play into the hands of ISIS if they could point to an uncaring and rejecting Europe.

Second, let’s reflect on what’s really going on. ISIS are managing to recruit angry and frightened young men, and some women, from across the Islamic world, and even from British communities, for an extreme creed because suicidal violence is presented as a solution to them. A solution to what? We need to answer that question if ever we’re going to understand the root causes of this terrorism.

Violence appeals to ISIS recruits because this particular brand of Islam is telling them that they can be martyrs and saints if they bring specific anti-Islamic forces to the ground. The West (and that includes us; even you and I are potential targets) is being blamed for Middle East dictatorships, for Israeli oppression and Palestinian suffering, for tempting Muslims with consumer culture and lax morality. All this is presented as a justification for getting high on bloodshed.

In the face of all this, we need to hold our nerve. We need to encourage international co-operation to tackle the root causes of war in the Middle East, and that includes a renewed focus on solving long-standing problems like Palestine, and Arab dictatorships. We need to renew our commitment to the values which actually feed us – compassion, fairness, tolerance – so that violence can be transcended. We need to pull people together, including our Muslim neighbours, the vast majority of whom share our revulsion at the violence. We need, we can say as Christians, the transforming power of God to be focussed on the situation by prayer, and Christian advocacy.

All this can feel utterly overwhelming in the front rooms of our homes. But let us do what we can – a letter to a politician or a newspaper here, a carefully chosen donation there, a wise word in a conversation with our neighbours, a gesture of friendship to the stranger, to the Muslim neighbour or the incoming refugee, and above all, prayer. By God’s grace and favour, we may yet change the world.


A most timely word from Bishop Gregory Cameron of the Church of Wales Dicoese of St. Asaph (former Communications director of the ACC) on the vexed subject of how to deal with the current unease as the activities of the ISIS Caliphate terrorists in Paris and other places in today’s world.

One of the great dangers is that those of us who are not of the Muslim Faith may tend to label our Muslim compatriots as co-conspirators in the wave of terrorist attacks – whereas, in fact, they may be just as horrified as the rest of us at what is being done in the name of their religion.

Even today, in little old New Zealand, a young turbanned Sikh student was mistaken for a Mulsim terrorist – simply because he was wearing his traditional Sikh headdress. His satchell, containing university study papers, was automatically suspected to contain a bomb! No matter that the member of the public who called the police did not know the difference beteren a Sikh and the Muslim, in terms of what they wear; this was a silly mis-identification that caused a degree of embarrassment – not only for the young man concerned, but also for the police who felt is necessary to question him in public on his identity.

The student, who had lived in New Zealand for some years, fortunately, was not too surprised by this incident. It was seen by him as an ideal opportunity to point to the danger of mis-identifiaction by reason of what one wore in public. He admitted that, sadly, this was not an isolated instance of being labelled as some sort of alien presence, in a country that he had come to accept as his homeland.

Father ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Pope hints at Lutherans having Catholic communion

Pope Lutherans resized

Pope Francis has suggested a Lutheran spouse of a Catholic should “talk to the Lord” in discerning whether or not to receive Communion with her husband.

Francis made the remark during a Q&A at a visit to Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran church on Sunday.

A Lutheran woman said she is married to a Catholic man and that the current prohibition on Lutherans receiving Communion in the Catholic Church causes them sadness.

The Pope stressed the role of personal discernment.

He said: “There are questions that only if one is sincere with oneself and the little theological light one has, must be responded to on one’s own.”

Pope Francis said he asked himself: “Is sharing the Lord’s Supper the end of a path or is it the viaticum for walking together?”

“It is true that in a certain sense sharing is to say that there are not differences among us, that we have the same doctrine – I underline the word, a word difficult to understand – but I ask myself: Don’t we have the same Baptism?” he continued.

“And if we have the same Baptism, we must walk together,” he said.

He told the couple: “You are a witness of an even [more]profound path because it is a conjugal path, a path truly of family, of human love, and of shared faith. We have the same Baptism.”

Francis referred to a pastor friend of his telling him:  “We believe that the Lord is present there. He is present. You believe that the Lord is present. And what is the difference?”

“There are explanations, interpretations,” said the Pope.

“Life is bigger than explanations and interpretations. Always make reference to Baptism.”

“‘One faith, one baptism, one Lord,’ Paul tells us,” Francis continued. “From there, grab hold of the consequences.”

“I will not ever dare to give permission to do this because it is not my competence,” he said.

“One Baptism, one Lord, one faith. Speak with the Lord and go forward. I do not dare to say more.”

Church law on the subject is covered in Canon 844.


‘Pope Francis has suggested a Lutheran spouse of a Catholic should “talk to the Lord” in discerning whether or not to receive Communion with her husband. Pope Francis made the remark during a Q&A at a visit to Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran church on Sunday.’

This latest news clip from ‘CATHNEWS’ indicates a willingness by Pope Francis to place the question – of whether or not the Lutheran spouse of a Roman Catholic could be allowed to share in the Eucharist with her husband at the Mass – into the context of the individual’s conscience, rather than strict obedience to the current embargo on reception of Holy Communion in the Roman Catholic Church by a non-Catholic.

Here again, in the wake of the Pope’s advocacy of making reception of the Eucharist a more open possibility for divorced  and remarried Catholics; this news comes as a welcome move of the possibility of eucharistic hospitality towards non-Catholics – people whose relationship to the Roman Catholic Church may be through their spouse’s membership.

The very fact that Pope Francis has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit a local Lutheran Church in Rome, and agreed to enter into open dialogue with  a lay Lutheran on this tricky subject, is plain evidence of his desire to bridge the gap between his own Church and other Churches of the Christian community.

However, in the article, the Pope makes it clear that he, himself, cannot give explicit permission for a non-Roman Catholic to receive the Holy Communion in a Catholic Church:

“I will not ever dare to give permission to do this because it is not my competence,” he said. “One Baptism, one Lord, one faith. Speak with the Lord and go forward. I do not dare to say more.”

In this admission, Pope Francis is proposing that – in the great scheme of things in the Roman Catholic Church – even the Pope is limited to what the doctrine of the Church currently allows. However, in this instance, Pope Francis is indicating that – at least in his own opinion – the primary relationship of all Christians is through their baptism into Christ. It is in this understanding that some of us – who believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Mass – already feel able to share in the sacrament of God’s Love for us as exemplified in the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

This has to be my favourite sentence spoken by Pope Francis:

“‘One faith, one baptism, one Lord,’ Paul tells us,” Francis continued. “From there, grab hold of the consequences.”

Here is a link from this week’s ‘Tablet’: 

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Christian Aid welcomes UK decision on coal

By agency reporter –  ‘EKKLESIA’

NOVEMBER 19, 2015
Christian Aid has welcomed Energy Secretary Amber Rudd’s announcement that the UK will stop using coal and also notes a new OECD agreement to tighten restrictions on exports of coal technology.

Responding to Ms Rudd, Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Principal Climate Change Advisor, said: “Coal is the largest single source of carbon emissions worldwide and accounts for a quarter of UK carbon emissions, so it was high time the UK took the decision to stop burning it.

“Britain became the world’s first industrialised country on the back of coal, so ending hundreds of years of dependence is hugely symbolic. Ms Rudd’s decision to phase out coal is especially timely and boosts momentums ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris. Where the UK leads, others must follow. The OECD’s agreement to put tighter restrictions on coal technology is another nail in the coffin for climate-polluting coal.”

However Christian Aid also cautioned that the UK’s reputation as a climate leader required continued, rapid reduction of the country’s emissions.

Ms Doig added: “The UK has lead climate negotiations for 20 years but that reputation relies on walking the talk. This year, 155 countries have made new climate pledges, including historic moves from the USA and China. Now is the time to speed up the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions, not slow them down.

“The most cost-effective route for the UK is to commit to a virtually carbon-free power sector within the next fifteen years. Phasing out coal clears the way for new investment in low-carbon energy but the Government must send consistent signals to investors and industry: they need clarity and certainty if they are to invest in the renewable energy the UK needs.

“Replacing coal with gas will only buy a little time. A dash for gas is simply incompatible with tackling climate change and leading by example.”

Archbishop Thabo of Cape Town, who is Chair of the Anglican Eco Bishops for Ecojustice, said: “The announcement that a country which pioneered industrial development is taking the first steps towards phasing out the world’s most polluting fossil fuel is welcome news indeed. As the Paris climate talks approach, it is time for middle-income and developing countries to leapfrog dirty coal altogether by using clean technologies to fuel our development.”

On Tuesday this week (17 November), OECD countries finally agreed much tougher restrictions on how they use export guarantees to promote coal power overseas. Coal exporters such as Australia and South Korea strongly opposed such moves but a compromise was reached.

Alison Doig added: “Coal is climate enemy number one and the OECD’s tighter restrictions on coal exports will cut funding to 80 per cent of planned coal projects – but they should have been much tougher. Sadly these new export rules are incompatible with keeping global warming below 2 degrees.

“The UK and USA helped to reach a reasonable compromise, winning over opposition from Australia and South Korea. These coal exporters need to see that the writing is on the wall for the coal industry – coal belongs in the past, not the future.”

Ms Doig added: “More than 50,000 people have signed a petition calling on Amber Rudd to end coal burning, shift to clean, renewable energy, and ensure our export strategy goes low carbon. Today’s announcement is a victory for campaigners.”

Christian Aid has been campaigning for a swift end to coal use at home and abroad.

* Christian Aid

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia’s values. If you use Ekklesia’s news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia’s work here.

A good initiative on the part of the U.K. Government!

Perhaps it is now time for other western nations to seriously consider taking similar steps to ameliorate the causes of fossil fuel pollution.

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Looking Back; the Enthronement of the ABC

Archbishop Justin Welby enthroned in Canterbury

New Archbishop of Canterbury is enthroned

They included the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The event marked the formal start of Mr Welby’spublic ministry as leader of the 77-million strong Anglican Communion as well as head of the Church of England.

The colourful ceremony featured Punjabi music, African dancers and drummers and an organ improvisation.

Diocesan throne

For the first time in history, a female cleric, the Venerable Sheila Watson, Archdeacon of Canterbury, was given the central role of formally enthroning the archbishop on the diocesan throne in the cathedral – symbolising his appointment as bishop of Canterbury.

The archbishop was then formally enthroned on the 13th century marble chair of St Augustine by the Dean of Canterbury the Very Rev Robert Willis, symbolising his role as head of the Church of England and leader of the global Anglican Communion.

Earlier Mr Welby made a declaration of his loyalty to the Church of England and swore an oath of faithfulness on the Canterbury Gospels, brought to Britain by St Augustine in 597.

Striking the door

The start of the service saw Mr Welby striking the west door of the cathedral three times with his pastoral staff before the doors were opened.

In his sermon, he highlighted the contribution of Christianity to British society through work such as food banks, homeless shelters and education.

“For more than a thousand years this country has to one degree or another sought to recognise that Jesus is the Son of God – by the ordering of its society, by its laws, by its sense of community,” he said.

With influence but without authority? See Archbishop Welby interviewed by Jon Snow

“Sometimes we have done better, sometimes worse.

“When we do better we make space for our own courage to be liberated, for God to act among us and for human beings to flourish.”


But he warned the congregation that the more the Church heeded “Jesus’ call” the more the Church would suffer – highlighting the martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, the Anglican archbishop burnt at the stake in 1556.

“I look at the Anglican leaders here and remember that in many cases round the world their people are scattered to the four winds or driven underground – by persecution, by storms of all sorts, even by cultural change,” he said.

The congregation included representatives from the major faiths including Islam, Judaism and the Sikh religions. Leaders of the orthodox churches were also present including Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain.

The most senior figures in the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales were present including the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, leader of Catholics in England and Wales, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

Also present were the Labour leader Ed Miliband, Home Secretary Theresa May, Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

Ringing bells

As the service finished, the cathedral bells rang and the archbishop proceeded out of the west door followed by Charles and Camilla. The royal couple spoke to him briefly outside as the congregation remained standing.

Bishop Emanuel Chukuma from Nigeria said afterwards: “It was quite an occasion. He seems to be a simple man and someone who is focused to bring the church together.

“His challenges looking forward is to reconcile the church because it has been wounded by unnecessary doctrines. Climate change is also another challenge as well as poverty and bad governance.”

Canon Charles Robertson from New York said: “The ceremony gives one great hope. Archbishop Welby will reach out to all Christians and people of all faith and the fact that this comes two days after the events in Rome makes one doubly hopeful.”

More from around the web

One very different circumstance of this enthronement was the fact that it was a woman who welcomed the Archbishop into the Cathedral:

“For the first time in history, a female cleric, the Venerable Sheila Watson, Archdeacon of Canterbury, was given the central role of formally enthroning the archbishop on the diocesan throne in the cathedral – symbolising his appointment as bishop of Canterbury”.

(I noted in the article that there seems to be some confusion about exactly who enacted the task of enthroning the Archbishop, as two successive paragraphs (one of which is noted above) show different people – one of whom was the Dean – performing the ceremony)

Another feature of the ceremonies was the presence of a team of African drummers, whose efforts reminded guests from all over the Anglican Communion that the Anglican Church is alive and active in Provinces all over the world. 

The inter-Faith significance of this recognition of the latest occupant of the Throne of St. Augustine was exemplified in the presence of Faith Leaders from Christian and other religious Traditions – an indication of the new Archbishop’s  intention to work with other Faith Communities in the U.K. and around the world.

Looking back, now from the situation of women bishops having been recognised and accepted by the majority of Anglicans around the world, this particular hurdle – though still contentious in a minority of the Church of England – one realises the fact that Anglican Churches in almost every Province have shed the label of intentional sexism, in order to recognise the value of women in ministry at all levels of the Church.

What remains now, is for the Church of England to find an accommodation with those in the Church who look forward to overcoming the suspicion of a lingering homophobia, that has divided the ‘sola Scriptura’ Provinces of the Communion from those who long for the total equality of all people – regarless of race, social class, culture, gender or sexual-identity.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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NZ Muslims show solidarity with French Victims

Muslim NZers stand alongside victims of Paris attacks


The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand have issued a joint statement with the NZ Human Rights Commission in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in France and Lebanon.

“We stand alongside all innocent victims of terrorism in peace, solidarity and humanity,” said Hazim Arafeh, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand.

“The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand condemns all terrorist attacks and joins the rest of the world in deep sorrow as we mourn men, women and children murdered by terrorists and extremists.”

The Auckland Council of Christians and Muslims has also unequivocally condemned the recent terrorist acts in Paris, Beirut and Sinai.

They say it is simply not possible to claim religious sanction for such heinous acts.

“The call to be peacemakers in the midst of human division is a central, though frequently forgotten, tenet of both the Christian and Muslim traditions.”

The Council has invited all New Zealanders to reaffirm their commitment to thoughtful and consistent peace making as a primary expression of their humanity.

Asif Koya, president of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand, told the New Zealand Herald that he condemned what has happened and feared widespread and indiscriminate recoil on the Islamic community.

“I’m sure Muslim’s in France will be affected and I wish them well for the pressure they will come under,” Koya said.

“Obviously we are very saddened for all the victims and everyone affected. We condemn any act of violence.”

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy urged New Zealanders to recognise “that terrorism has no religion and that Muslim Kiwis unreservedly and wholeheartedly condemn extremism and violence.”

“The Human Rights Commission stands alongside Muslim New Zealanders in their continued and uncompromising call for peace,” said Dame Susan.

“Hate starts small but so too does hope.  Terrorism has no religion and neither does humanity: we urge Kiwis to stand together in humanity.”

On Sunday about 100 people from the Muslim community gathered in downtown Auckland to protest against terrorist group Isis.

Both young and old gathered at the Aotea Square and called on world leaders to unite against the group Isis.

One woman told the group Isis had again struck its deadly hand on the people of France.

But many other people around the world – including in Afghanistan – had lost their lives to terrorist actions.

“Though 120 people have been killed in Paris and the world is shaking right now, but what about the people, the thousands who have been killed [already]? Whoever knows about it?”

The speaker said now was the time for the world’s leaders to come together to fight Isis’ regime.


At a time of tension between the supporters of fundamentalist religion and those who believe that God condemns community violence; this show of solidarity between the New Zealand Muslim and Christian communities, whose leaders have offered the following statement, is vital to a proper understanding of what true religion ought to embrace:

“The call to be peacemakers in the midst of human division is a central, though frequently forgotten, tenet of both the Christian and Muslim traditions.” 

The recent appalling attacks against innocent people in Beirut and Paris – as well as in other parts of the world where religious fundamentalism provokes violence – calls for all people, religious and non-religious, to stand up for the solidarity of all human beings, in the quest for the right to live in peace with one another – despite our cultural differences.

Sadly, fundamentalist religion can often be a root cause of disaffection – especially in places where, hitherto, communities have been content to live side by side with social and cultural diversity, without conflict.

Like institutional racism, fundamentalist religious systems – that claim priority in moral philosophy, while yet subscribing to violence in order to induce others to adapt to their particular life-style – have no place in a world they claim to be created and sustained by the God they believe in.

Suspicion, for instance by fundamentalist Christians, that the Muslim Faith is rooted in violence against Christianity, cannot be sustained by practical experience. Both the Koran and the Bible have elements of violence within their pages, but this has to be seen in the setting of their historical past – which covers times of hardship and opposition that have predicated the use of force in order to survive. However, the biblical record, for example, needs to be interpreted by the teaching of Jesus Christ, who counselled the love of one’s enemies, while yet seeking justice for all by peacful means.  

Having once lived in Fifi, where Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists & Christians managed to live together in relative peace and harmony, I know that, at base, these religions have peaceful co-existence as a major plank of their day to day philosophy and praxis. I pray that we all, in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and in other places of our world, will be able to maintain good relationships – because of, rather than despite, our religious differences.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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