The North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists has joined world leaders by releasing a statement today offering "deepest condolences" in response to the shooting of six Muslim men at a mosque in Québec, Canada. The shooting prompted a statement issued to the media by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge."
U.S. President Donald Trump has so far not issued a statement on the shooting, but his press secretary said that Trump offered Trudeau condolences, prayers, and the offer of law enforcement aid. Spicer then used the opportunity to reiterate the Trump Administration's resolve in banning immigration to the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries. "It's a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the president is taking steps to be proactive, not reactive,'' Spicer said, linking the Québec mosque shooting to Trump's immigration ban.
Canadian law enforcement arrested and charged French Canadian university student Alexandre Bissonnette with the shooting. According to an Associated Press report, Bissonnette holds far-right, nationalist views and supports a French rightist party led by Marine Le Pen and has expressed support for Donald Trump on social media.
The North American Division, which represents the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United States and Canada, issued a statement decrying the Québec shooting. That statement is printed below in its entirety. The NAD also has pointed to a 2015 Huffington Post article, "Adventists Respond to the Call to Care for Refugees," authored by President Daniel Jackson as the NAD's response to the Trump Administration's immigration ban.
1-30-17 The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada Issues Statement After Mosque Shooting in Québec
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada joins citizens across our nation in mourning the loss of six innocent lives in the senseless killings that occurred on Sunday evening at the Mosque in Québec City, Québec. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of each victim, continuing to keep them in our prayers. We are heartbroken that a space of safety, security, and peace for many has been violated.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada affirms that there is no place for hatred of a person’s race or religion, as well as the actions that are based on this hatred. We believe that God has called us to love all of our neighbours equally, regardless of race, gender, religion, or lifestyle. Therefore, we stand with the people of Quebec and with the people across Canada that will continue to daily demonstrate a spirit of love, compassion, and peace in midst of such sadness and despair.
We pray for the day when all people of all races, genders, religions, and lifestyles can live their lives without fear or hatred. We encourage the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to embody the character of Jesus by demonstrating the love and compassion He exemplified. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9, NIV).
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
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