We stand in solidarity with our Muslim siblings around the world after the horrendous white nationalist terrorist shooting in New Zealand on Friday afternoon.
We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community in New Zealand, with all our Kiwi friends and with all our Muslim sisters and brothers around the world in this time of mourning. The violence unleashed in Christchurch strikes at the heart of our faith commitments and our humanity. At this time, we recall the verse in the Qur’an that states, “Give glad tidings to the patient, to those who, when calamity strikes, Say: ‘We belong to God, and to Him we shall return.’ Upon them descend blessings from God and mercy.” We pledge not only our prayers but our active support to the families of the victims and to their community in whatever way we can be of help.
This was not an isolated incident. We remember those killed at the Pittsburgh synagogue and at the Charleston African-American church attacks, like this one, driven by religious, racial, and ethnic hatred that is unacceptable in any community. We say “No!” not only to violence but to the hatred and bigotry that foster such violence. No one should fear for their safety at their house of worship. No one should fear violence, or hatred, or disrespect on account of their religious, racial, or ethnic identity.
These incidents do not happen in a vacuum. They are the fruit of attitudes of intolerance and prejudice that are deeply rooted in society, attitudes that have been fostered over the last several years by elected officials and other people of influence. In particular, we must call attention to, and speak out against, political efforts to exploit social division and sow fear. Policies like separating families through the Muslim travel ban, taking children from their families at the US border, or dehumanizing refugees all feed the hate that erupts into violence and into less visible but also deeply hurtful acts of dehumanization and bigotry. We need to call on our elected officials to commit themselves to oppose hate speech and hate violence in every form and to reject policies that spring from it and feed it.
At this moment of horror and grief, we must also call on our sisters and brothers in our religious communities and on all our fellow citizens to demonstrate acts of solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers, and we must pledge ourselves not only to speak out but also to educate about and foster encounters among the diverse people that make up our countries and our world, so that we may root out the seeds of hatred and xenophobia that give rise to such horrors as we have just experienced. May this event spur us on to ever greater efforts to promote human solidarity.
Please see and share these two statements from our partners at the Interfaith Peace Project, led by Father Thomas Bonacci and the San Francisco Interfaith Council, let by Rev. Michael Pappas.