Friends, by now you’ve probably heard of the tragic attacks on two mosques in New Zealand during their Friday congregational prayers that left 49 people dead and 50 or more in hospitals. Like the Tree of Life synagogue attack in Pittsburg, the terrorists cited the language of “invasion” of immigrants, and in this case specifically praised President Trump as a symbol of renewed white identity.
We stand in solidarity and condemnation of this vicious anti-Muslim hate crime. We understand that our neighbors in all impacted communities feel unsafe and we want you to know that we are here for you. Please reach out to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if there is anything our leadership team or volunteeers can do to help you. We have a good relationship with the St. Cloud Police, as an advocacy group through the St. Cloud Community Policing Agreement, so, if you you feel unsafe in the city of St. Cloud, first, of course, we would encourage you to reach out to them. However, if you don’t feel comfortable doing so yourself, we would be happy to be a bridge for you to reach out to them. For our neighbors outside of St. Cloud, we would be happy to utilize our contacts if that would be helpful as well.
The most important point that we want to get across is that, along with our friends across the nation in the ING:Know Your Neighbor coalition (which #unitecloud has been a part of for a couple of years), we demand that elected officials denounce hate speech and violence in every form. Yes, we use the word demand on purpose because this is a life and death situation. Elected officials have the opportunity and the platform to bring people together and affirm our human solidarity. This type of violence is a direct result of politicians exploiting social division and sowing fear. Whether it’s separating families through the Muslim Ban, taking children away from their families at America’s border, or dehumanizing refugees in Europe politicians who drive these messages encourage the worst. White Supremacy impacts all of us, and, as we have seen time and time again, it is deadly.
Not surprisingly, this tragedy occurred on Friday afternoon when the mosque would have been filled with people who gathered for Friday prayers, just as the Pittsburgh killer attacked Jews at their synagogue, and the Charleston killer attacked an African American Church. These types of attacks are driven by racial, religious, and ethnic hatred and every elected official has a responsibility to denounce them in the strongest possible terms.
In the wake of this terrible attack, we call on elected officials to commit themselves to opposing hate speech and hate violence in every form, but we equally call on citizens to demonstrate acts of solidarity with their Muslim neighbors, co-workers, and others. We stand with the Christchurch Muslim community and our Kiwi friends in their time of mourning and pledge our support. We encourage people worldwide to provide donations and support to the families of victims. This type of violence and the hate that motivates it is unacceptable in any country and people worldwide have a responsibility to stand up and say no. No one should fear for their safety when attending their house of worship or when raising awareness about an issue.
Thank you, ING, as well as ING-Know Your Neighbor affiliate, ReThink Media, for offering verbage for Solidarity Statements, as well as the graphic used in this blog.