The Power of Inclusion

Inclusion goes a long way towards healing, and we’re seeing that happen right now after the terrorist attack that killed 50 people at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last week. Only one percent of New Zealand’s population of nearly 5 million people identify as Muslim, but a remarkable effort by the individuals and institutions leading the country is underway to demonstrate the power of inclusion.

Newspapers have printed front-page greetings in Arabic, and details on Muslim burial practices and religious rituals. The national television and radio broadcasted the Muslim call to prayer, and leaders and news hosts have led with greetings of as-salaam alaykum.

And then there’s the haka. I didn't know that New Zealanders generally learn haka, traditional, ceremonial Maori dance, even if they don’t have a personal Maori heritage, or that it would be appropriate as part of healing and remembrance for victims of last week's mass shooting. But that seems to be just what’s happening; in addition, the New Zealand Maori Council called for a nationwide haka to be performed today to commemorate one week since the massacre. This powerful, inclusive response to a massacre is worth paying attention to.