New Zealand experienced unspeakable horror on Friday (March 15), the likes of which no human being, community or nation should ever be subject to.
The shootings at two mosques left at least 40 dead, and was one of the worst massacres New Zealand has ever had the misfortune to experience.
Barely hours later, we had the further misfortune to hear some truly appalling statements by a senator for Queensland, in Australia, Fraser Anning.
"Let us be clear, while Muslims may have been the victims today, usually they are the perpetrators. Worldwide, Muslims are killing people in the name of their faith on an industrial scale.
"The entire religion is simply the violent ideology of a sixth century despot masquerading as a religious leader, which justifies endless war against anyone who opposes it and calls for the murder of unbelievers and apostates.
"The truth is that Islam is not like any other faith. It is the religious equivalent of fascism. And just because the followers of this savage belief were not the killers in this instance does not make them blameless.
"As we read in Matthew 26:52; 'All they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword' and those who follow a violent religion that calls on them to murder us, cannot be too surprised when someone takes them at their word and responds in kind," he was quoted as saying. Politician lashes out at Muslims after Christchurch shootings: ‘They are the perpetrators’
This level of naked, despicable bigotry is shocking.
The disgusting use of a Bible quote here in particular brings to mind the quote, (even) the devil can quote scripture for his purpose.
One not only wonders whether Anning possesses the brains necessary to qualify as a senator, but whether he even possesses the most basic levels of empathy necessary to qualify as a human being.
An eye for an eye
Anning represents the very worst type of politics to be found in the world today.
Men like him seek to reduce entire global communities to one-dimensional caricatures of evil, so as to further their own selfish political goals.
If we adopted Anning's logic, then every white man who walks the earth would be equated to the four or more murderers in New Zealand today - on the prowl, armed to the teeth, looking to butcher every Muslim alive.
If all 1.8 billion Muslims in the world started to think that all white men were like that, what kind of situation would we end up with?
Something tells me that madmen like Anning might even spout the nonsensical kind of rhetoric that would welcome such a conflict.
Such an eye-for-an-eye conflict would leave the whole world a lot worse than just blind.
By their fruits you shall know them
While evil men like Anning try to tear the world apart, it is important for the rest of us to keep our heads.
There are good Muslims and bad 'Muslims'. There are good Christians and bad 'Christians'. The same applies for any ethnic group, any nationality, any conceivable human community of any kind.
We are not defined by our creed or the colour of our skin, but by our actions.
The actions of the perpetrators in New Zealand make them the reprehensible terrorists and murderers they are.
Anning's foul words reveal him to be a man we should all denounce and detest.
To try and bring religion or race into these matters is to fall into a trap of ignorance, base politicking, and bigotry.
Reject Malaysian Annings
We, Malaysians, are no strangers to bickering over race and religion.
We are no strangers to sweeping generalisations, to attempts to paint a whole community with a single brush, because of the actions of a few.
Our duty then, is to see that our children will be strangers to these bad habits.
Our duty is to ensure that when young Malaysians look to us as examples, they will find Malaysians who will reject stereotyping or bias wholesale, and judge each and every individual human being by their thoughts, words and actions - and nothing else.
The way some politicians are trying to lead us by the nose, we may see the rise of our own Malaysian Annings, whether they be Malay, Chinese, Muslim, Christian, or whatever.
The first, and most important step away from such a damned path, is for non-Muslims to speak out in solidarity with Muslims (especially in a time like this), and for Muslims to speak out in solidarity with non-Muslims.
If individuals from each community can remember to make this a habit, then we will keep the likes of Anning far, far away from our shores.
Media and communications director
Emir Research (www.emirresearch.com), is a think tank focused on data-driven policy research, centred on principles of engagement, moderation, innovation and rigour.