Following the recent heinous attack in New Zealand (NZ) that resulted in the deaths of 50 Muslim worshippers, NZ Prime Minister (PM) Jacinda Ardern has been hailed for how she handled the tragedy. Dispelling the notion of othering, Ardern said, “New Zealand mourns with you. We are one”. She has been applauded for focusing on the victims, encouraging unity and moving swiftly to ban assault and semi-automatic weapons. A typical world leader’s response to such an incident is often revenge, but she has set a tone unlike most. She has used rhetoric of love, respect, compassion, and understanding. She herself visited the mosque on priority, wearing a headscarf out of respect for the Muslim community. Her actions make it clear that she is trying to make a better community whose members care for one another. She also asked state television and radio to broadcast the Friday Azaan a week after the attack and a session of her parliament was started with the recitation of Holy Quran. Ms Ardern’s words and gestures seem to suggest that she feels the pain of her countrymen deeply, regardless of their religious affiliation and their number. Seeing her compassion and care for the Muslim minority, no one can term it a political stunt aimed at political gain. She has continued to emphasise that NZ’s Muslims are New Zealanders, and that they are one of many communities that make up the nation. Her leadership has replaced flames of hatred based on faith, race and other such considerations with love and care. If any ruler in Pakistan wants to emulate PM Ardern, can he or she really do this in a country where it is imperative to legislate within ‘Islamic’ bounds? PM Ardern’s heartfelt compassion and love for her tiny Muslim community has set very high standards for all countries in terms of dealing with minorities. At the same time, her dealing with the tragedy has raised many questions for the rulers of Muslims countries. Let us take an example of our own country – Pakistan. Its non-Muslim population has declined from 23 percent on the eve of Independence in 1947 to less than 4 percent today. This has happened due to constant efforts to ‘purify’ the land which was separated for the Muslim minoritiess of the Subcontinent. Unluckily, there has never been any ruler like PM Ardern in Pakistan who could protect minorities and help them realise that they are not ‘others’ and this is their own country. For instance, if any ruler in Pakistan wants to emulate PM Ardern, can he or she really do this in a country where it is imperative to legislate within ‘Islamic’ bounds? In an ideal situation, if we want to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, certain of its articles, according to critics, are found irreconcilable with the Islamic Sharia. Legal critics are of the view that article 1 to 11, 16, 18, 19, 23.1, and 26 of the UDHR cannot be implemented under Sharia law. We face criticism that women and non-Muslims have no equal status like Muslims men in Islamic states in marrying or recording witness before the court of law. Muslims in general are considered superior to non-Muslims. The rights enshrined in articles 18 and 19 have been consistently violated in Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Normally Bahai, Ahmadi, and Shia minorities fall prey to these violations. Article 23.1 guarantees everyone right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Certain Muslims states are considered to be violating this provision of the UDHR. Non-Muslims are not free to choose their work in Muslim countries, or rather certain posts are not permitted them. Our memory of futile effort of appointment of Atif Mian — an Ahmedi — on the economic advisory council is still fresh. One of the fundamental principles of democracy is the separation of religion and state. First amendment of the American Bill of Rights says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”). Critics are of the view that in Islam there is no such separation of religion and state. If we are to be reciprocal to Jacinda’s acts, we have to find answers to the fore mentioned questions otherwise a serious efforts are needed for separation of state and the religion to make the country a loving place for everybody. There is a third solution. We can stop appreciating Jacinda for her treatment to her Muslims citizens, join Orya Maqbool Jan & Company and start criticizing and throwing obscenities on her and keep on banishing religious minorities from Pakistan to take our land to the peak of ‘purification’. The writer is a journalist currently based in Canada.