On March 15, 2019, a self-identified white supremacist walked into two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand within the same hour and started shooting, leaving at least 50 dead and 50 other injured. On the one hand, hate crimes targeting the Muslim community no longer surprise us. At the same time, perhaps it was the vast number of fatalities in one incident, the atrocity shocked many, raising the sense of a new climax of xenophobia, Islamophobia, and white supremacy. As a member of the Christian community, this author is interested in learning how religious leaders in Christianity and the Islamic faith make sense of these happenings – not necessarily from a political perspective only but more so with a spiritual angle both in the assessment and the response. Out of this curiosity, I interviewed Ustadh Ayman Mohamed (“Ustadh” is a title meaning “teacher”), the imam of Tarbiya Institute in Roseville, California and Mike Lueken, the senior pastor of Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California separately. The audio recordings of these interviews are posted below.
(Imam Ayman is soft-spoken, appears to be in his 30s or early 40s.)
(Mike Lueken is the senior pastor of Oak Hills Church. Since the publication of Renovation of the Church, Oak Hills has been under the Evangelical radar of those who wish to pursue Spiritual Formation.)