We, the ASEAN YOUNG LEADERS FORUM would like to express our shock and sorrow following the recent barbaric attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The tragedy has claimed the lives of 49 innocent people and injured more than 20. Our deepest sympathies, prayers and condolences go to the victims, their loved ones and the Muslim community in Christchurch who are going through a difficult period.

We condemn in the strongest possible term, this senseless act of terror on innocent people, and we urge the authority to bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible.

With an established network in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, we call upon youths in the ASEAN region to unite against all forms of extremism and violence -be it religious or ethnic – and abide by our common values of compassion, respect, diversity, inclusiveness and social justice.

We also call upon all ASEAN youths to collectively:

  1. Organize campaigns to promote tolerance and understanding among different groups or sects of people, especially the minorities.
  2. Conduct programs to raise awareness and expose the manipulative and deceptive strategies used by irresponsible groups in recruiting and promoting violence.
  3. Engage in positive, healthy and self-development activities related to education, economy, arts, culture, sports and others as a way of channelling their precious time and energy.
  4. Continously work and collaborate with all stakeholders to build peace and harmony in their respective communities.

We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and its Muslim community, against the rising tide of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments. We will continue to oppose all forms of extremist ideologies and violence, in order to ensure a world where everyone feels safe, dignified and accepted.

Dr Nur Aisyah Zainordin