A senseless attack on a peaceful community of Ismaili Muslims in Karachi took place on May 13, 2015 resulting in 45 deaths, and 13 injured.
The Ismaili Shia community is comprised of 15 million followers who reside in 25 countries, 500,000 of whom live in Pakistan. They are devoted to Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammad and are led by His Highness Karim Aga Khan. Tellingly, the grandfather of the current Aga Khan was one of the founding fathers of Pakistan in 1947.
The Aga Khan is not only a spiritual guide and leader but also a philanthropist who said in the aftermath of the tragedy: "This attack represents a senseless act of violence against a peaceful community. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed and wounded in the attack," the Aga Khan said. The Aga Khan noted that the Ismailis are a peaceful global community living in harmony with other religious and ethnic groups in many countries across the world, including in the Muslim world.
"The main focus of Islam is to focus on humanity and no true Muslim will tolerate compromising humanity. Violence against anyone defies the message of Islam. Muslims are required to love their neighbours as they would love themselves. As a Muslim, I 'm very disturbed to know that innocent people have to suffer in the name of religion," says Dr Mina Leghari, former member of the Pakistan National Assembly.
These slayings are unfathomable and Mamoon Hamid, a Bay Area resident, of Pakistani origin is anguished and says: "These killings are so horrible...I can't believe how savage humans can be towards other innocent humans. The savages behind the attack have no compass of right or wrong."
My friend Daisy Khan who runs a non-profit called ASMA is a serial non-profit entrepreneur and deeply immersed in changing the paradigm for Muslim youth and women. She says: "Muslims of all sects need to understand that the twisted ideology of terrorists is used as a language for mass mobilization and provides completely false justification for their acts of violence. These war tactics disrupt the peaceful coexistence that prevailed for decades. Muslims need to stem the tide of violent extremism and discredit the ideological support base."
Nadim Laiwala: "Ismailis represent a peaceful group focusing on pluralism and social justice. They contribute not only to the broader Muslim ummah but to the communities-at-large in which they reside, regardless of creed, culture or religious differences. To see such a deplorable act committed against the community - my community - is truly heart wrenching."
"We should condemn violence because it is unjust - period. Shias do not need a stamp of religious legitimacy from Sunni Islam to demand justice and protection of life from the state. The state has an obligation to protect Shia lives because they are citizens of the state" says Anni Zonneveld who speaks and sings for the soul of Islam.
My nephew, Eboo Patel who runs the Interfaith Youth Core states that "The massacre of Ismailis in Karachi made me weep. I knew the prayers those people said every morning as they prepared for their day. All these massacres are brutal, senseless and violate the core value in Islam - mercy." Eboo Patel is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Council in Chicago and a member of President Obama's inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.