Where is India’s Jacinda Ardern?
Where is India’s Jacinda Ardern?
Can India find a Prime Minister like New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern? It really needs one, writes Mari Marcel Thekaekara.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern waves as she leaves after the Friday prayers outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand 22 March 2019.REUTERS/Edgar Su
In India there is more hate now than ever before, not even at the time of the Hindu-Muslim riots before Partition in 1947. Jacinda Ardern is New Zealand’s Prime Minister and she is a good example of how to deal with hate. This is very important now in India and for its leadership. Ardern is an example of an excellent world leader. People around the world talk about her youth, her sincerity, her courage in such a difficult situation, and they say this is the only way to stop violence and create world peace.
She does not ask for revenge, as many others have done. This woman embraced the victims and did not worry about politics. The world in general and young people in particular can see when politicians are not honest. But here was a politician who was the real thing. She led her country to condemn the hateful killing of the innocent victims, a Muslim minority in a mainly white New Zealand.
Christians, Jewish people, and other people of all faiths followed to show support for their Muslim countrymen. Sikh temples in New Zealand opened their doors for the survivors’ families.
Jacinda led by example. She wore a head-scarf to show respect for the victims and their traditions. She said she would not give the shooter the publicity he wanted and did not give his name. She had the Muslim call to prayer played publicly throughout the country and this has stunned every Islamic nation. And headlines around the world showed admiration in a world which really needs good leaders.
The Gulf emirate’s Burj Khalifa tower lit up with a picture of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. This is something completely new.
Will Jacinda's actions and the effect it had on her people change things? Can world leaders follow her actions and not see all Muslims as terrorists?
Muslim leaders have saluted her and call for an end to terrorism. One important voice comes from a Malaysian professor. He said ‘I felt very, very sad. But I did not feel shock as we could all see this coming. We Muslims are very silent about terrible acts of terrorism by ISIS and others.’ He talks about the prophet Mohammed's rule about living in harmony with others. The Prophet said to some Muslims they should not insult their dead parents. When the Muslims asked how they would insult their own parents, the Prophet said, “If you insult the parents of others, then they will insult your own parents!” And so this is an insult to the Muslims’ own parents. The Prophet blamed the Muslims themselves, not the non-Muslims. It is a very simple rule.
The world would be heaven, as John Lennon imagined, if everyone followed the simple rules of peace and harmony, which every religion teaches. It's good to see young people taking to the streets in order to save the world's environment for future generations. It would be wonderful if young people everywhere took to the streets now to return to a world where terror attacks did not happen and where it was a safer place for everyone.
Back to India, where there is so much hateful speech the elections. Hateful speech is so much easier than solving poverty. Peace groups are trying their best. But it’s hard because people who hate shout the loudest. Hope lies in young people. Can India find a Prime Minister like Jacinda? India really needs one. India really needs peace, harmony, and hope.
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(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed)