As Muslims in the world began their holy period of Ramadan, dedicated to peace, reflection and self-reform, the world was taken aback by the tragic shooting that took place at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Although the killer has been brought to justice, no amount of legal satisfaction can ever replace the nine lives that were lost in this brutal act of terrorism. Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus condemns this unfathomable attack on the Emanuel AME Church, and stands in solidarity with their congregation as they begin to find comfort and channel strength from their Scriptures.
The killer was a young white Christian male, indoctrinated in racism and hatred, and given a gun for his birthday by his own parents.
This heinous act reminds Sadhana of the importance of our mission "to assert a progressive Hindu voice into the public discourse of our times" and to mobilize Hindus to "speak up and act for progressive social change."
The gun culture and fanatical intolerance and racism that created this young killer are in absolute opposition to the principles of tolerance, inclusiveness and ahimsa (non-violence) which we embrace, and that are at the heart of Hinduism. In Hinduism, we believe the same divine spirit is in each of us, no matter our race or creed. We decry all hate crimes based on racism and religious fundamentalism since a crime against one is a crime against all.
Sadhana calls on South Carolina’s state and local government to enact legislation that will put an end to race-based violence. At this time is it imperative that we manifest the words of Pope Francis in his welcome Encyclical on climate change, issued the same day as the shooting. He says, “Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.” Hence, let us promise to ourselves the reality of moving forward for what is good, and to find both spiritual and policy solutions to the challenges facing our world today.