March 16, 2018
American Muslims alarmed at White Supremacist
terror attacks in New Zealand
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
The seven-million strong American Muslim Community was alarmed at the White Supremacist terror attacks on two mosques in New Zealand where gunmen entered the mosques and began to shoot and kill Muslim parishioners indiscriminately during the Friday prayer services. At least 49 Muslims were killed and another 48 injured. New Zealand Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed children among shooting victims.
An online screed the shooter apparently left behind explained that he was specifically targeting Muslims who invaded “our lands [and] live on our soil” and that it was an “act of revenge against Islam.”
According to media reports, one terrorist, who identified himself as 28-year-old Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, filmed the attack on social media. Dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle he started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque shortly after 1.40pm local time.
The terrorist then opened fire at a second mosque in suburb of Linwood, where police said there had also been multiple casualties.
Tarrant, who filmed himself attacking a Christchurch mosque in a Facebook Live video, posted a 74-page manifesto in which he claims to be from a “working class, low income family”.
He said he was of Scottish, Irish and English stock and moved to New Zealand temporarily to plan and train and then stayed there after deciding to conduct the attack.
“I have read the writings of Dylann Roof and many others, but only really took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik,” he wrote.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the attack was carried out "by an extremist right-wing violent terrorist" and media reports indicate that the manifesto posted before the attack includes anti-Muslim rhetoric.
The white supremacist author of the manifesto called himself a supporter of President Donald Trump, who he sees "as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose."
Authorities have detained four people and defused explosive devices following what appeared to be a carefully-planned terror attack.
In initial reaction the Trump administration’s condolences failed to use the word “Muslim” or “Islam.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this morning (March 15) offered his “personal condolences to the Nation of New Zealand in the wake of the mosque attacks,” said “the United States condemns this hateful assault,” and pledged the US’s “unwavering solidarity with the government and people of New Zealand,” in a press conference this morning. But he never mentioned the Muslim community.
Responding to the horrific terror attack in New Zealand President Trump Twitted: “My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques.’” He said “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!” However, Trump said he doesn't seen white nationalism as a threat on the rise across the globe.
American Muslim groups Friday denounced the White Supremacist terror attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee: In a statement American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said: “We at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) are shocked over the news coming out of New Zealand. Our hearts are shattered for those who lost family members and loved ones in this tragedy. We stand with the Muslim Community of New Zealand after the horrific white supremacist terror attack that has left 49 dead and dozens injured; and we offer our condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones.
The ADC statement said: “The ideology of white supremacy which drove the attackers is a grave threat to communities of color, including Arabs and Muslims, in the U.S. and abroad. White supremacy is not just an ideology, it has become a battle cry for terror attacks as seen in New Zealand. White supremacist terrorism kills more Americans than any other ideologically motivated violence and yet it is not taken seriously – this needs to change. In the wake of this terror attack we call on elected officials in the U.S. and across the world to commit themselves to opposing hate speech and the ideology of white supremacy.”
US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO): The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations and institutions, strongly condemned the terror attacks that took place at two New Zealand mosques.
"Let us make no mistake about it- this is an act of terror against innocent worshipers," said USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal. "To simply call it an act of violence severely downplays the hate ideology that fueled this heinous crime."
USCMO called on New Zealand authorities to treat the attacks as an act of terrorism. USCMO further calls upon enfranchised peoples of conscious to use their voices and vested powers to legally, morally, politically, and publically proscribe the expression of this escalating, dangerous hate-speech and hostile activity against Muslims and Islam by politicians and organized groups, and to enforce the restoration of safety and human rights for their Muslim neighbors and fellow citizens.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): The CAIR, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today (March 15) mourned the deaths of more than 40 worshipers gunned down in terror attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during prayers on Friday, condemned the apparent anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that motivated the attacks and urged mosques in the United States and worldwide to step up security measures.
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said: "To God we belong, and to Him is our return. We mourn the heartbreaking killings of men, women and children gathered for prayer in their houses of worship and urge leaders in our nation and worldwide to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that appears to have motivated these white supremacist terrorists. In the wake of this tragedy, we urge mosques, Islamic schools and other community institutions in the United States and around the world to take stepped-up security precautions, particularly during times of communal prayer."
"Instead of spreading the hate-filled message of terrorists, we should share messages of love and solidarity with the loved ones of those killed or injured in the attacks," said Awad. He urged President
The Muslim American Society (MAS): The MAS vehemently condemned the mosque shootings in New Zealand. “We have seen time and time again that the prevalence of hate speech and Islamophobic rhetoric have deadly consequences,” said MAS Executive Director Ayman Hammous.
“The time and method by which these attacks were carried out are an unmistakable indication that they were intended to be as devastating as possible- an act of terrorism. Hate speech has a real, tangible human toll and and those propagating it must be held accountable.”
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC): The MPAC said this type of violence is a direct result of individuals and politicians who exploit social divisions in order to foment fear and hate. “Violence of this kind is unacceptable in any country and should be collectively rejected. Nobody should be made to fear to practice their faith or attend their place of worship,” the MPAC statement said adding:
“As we work together to meet the demand of this moment, we call on our elected officials to use their platforms to stand together with the American Muslim community, and to stand tall against hate speech. We must deal with the rise of white nationalist terrorism and the threat it poses to our national and human security. The victims of this act of mass violence were innocent people gathered for their congregational prayers, just as those in Quebec, Pittsburgh and Charleston were.
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA): The ICNA condemned the horrific terrorist attack at two Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand causing the death of around 50 and wounding many more men, women and children.
The Islamic Circle of Australia and New Zealand (ICAN) stated “Terrorist acts like this demand detailed investigation and strong action from the police department, relevant investigation agencies and the government. The root-causes of such incidents are required to be identified and eliminated. The increasing Islamophobia in Australia and New Zealand is one of the major concerns and needs to be tackled at the highest level.”
Muslim Advocates: Farhana Khera, Executive Director, Muslim Advocates, said today is a dark day for American Muslims and all people of faith and goodwill. Farhana Khera, went on to say that a house of worship is a sacred place for people of all faiths. It is an unspeakable tragedy to see two mosques attacked with such hate and bloodshed, but what happened in New Zealand was unfortunately not entirely unexpected, she said adding:
“Over the past few years, there has been an epidemic of attacks and planned attacks on Muslim communities and mosques across the United States: mosques were bombed in Bloomington, Minnesota, and burned in Austin and Victoria, Texas, Bellevue, Washington, and Thonotosassa, Florida, and mass attacks were planned against Muslim communities in Islamberg, New York, Jacksonville, Florida, and Garden City, Kansas. As American Muslims, we know that a white nationalist inspired mass attack on the Muslim community was a very real fear.”
“Now, with this attack, on the heels of the white nationalist-inspired attacks on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, and the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, we cannot be complacent. This should be a wakeup call for each and every one of us, especially public officials, law enforcement and tech companies.”
The Islamic Society of East Bay: The Islamic Society of East Bay Friday strongly denounced the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand. In a statement, the ISEB said: “No double this is an act of terror against innocent worshipers including children. The attacks, which killed 49 worshippers and injured dozens, were motivated anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate. All mosques and Islamic centers should take security measures and the Muslim community should remain vigilant.”
SABA Islamic Center: In a statement, the SABA Islamic Center, San Jose, CA, said SABA community members strongly condemn the terror attack on two Mosques in New Zealand that killed at least 49 people worshippers and injured several others. The attack took place during Friday prayers when hundreds of people were praying. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this heinous crime that claimed innocent lives.
American Muslims Institution (AIM): The AIM, in a statement said: “We join the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in condemning the worst terrorist attacks ever in one of the most peaceful and welcoming country in the world. We join all peace-loving New Zealanders in mourning the loss of all the victims and their families involved in this senseless and hate-filled attack. Islamophobia, hate, and xenophobia have no place in New Zealand nor any other country in the world.
“I hope that it may be of comfort to the families of victims and all those grieving in New Zealand that all American Muslims stand with them, in sadness, grief, and solidarity,” said Amb. Islam Siddiqui, President of American Muslim Institution.
Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF): The ISF in a statement said the staff and board of the Islamic Scholarship Fund were deeply saddened to learn about the deaths of 49 Muslims and 20 seriously injured Muslims, in two New Zealand mosques by a White supremacist. “Not only did the shooter live stream the attacks, he left behind a troubling manifesto detailing his thoughts on Muslims as "invaders." As we remember similar attacks in Pittsburg and Charleston, it’s important to realize that this is an attack on all people of faith,” the Fund said adding:
“While Muslim communities around the world struggle to deal with this violence that has hit us far too many times, we take solace in the solidarity shown towards us by so many of our good neighbors.. Like other marginalized communities, we urge the Muslim community to stay vigilant during this period of increased fear and reach out to allies for support. Together, we can stand against racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, and show the Muslim community in New Zealand that we stand with them unequivocally.”
Fehullah Gulen: US-based Turkish Islamic scholar, Fehullah Gulen strongly condemned this horrific attack and said: “Unfortunately, this heinous attack that targeted Muslims on their weekly religious holiday and while performing their worship service is the most recent incident in a chain of attacks that targeted worshippers in mosques, churches, synagogues and other places of worship during the past several months.
“The underlying psychology that surfaces in the form of Islamophobia, Christian-bashing, anti-Semitism or other forms of bigotry based on prejudices, fear and hate is a human tragedy. Regardless of the façade it hides behind, be it a belief system or ideology, terrorism is a single ailment that afflicts humanity, and humanity must join hands to solve it.
“An important pillar of the work to be done is the remembrance and internalization of our common human identity. The treatment for the disease of attacking those who are different by people whose lives are driven by fear and hate is the nurturing-through dialogue and education-of a perspective that sees every human as inherently worthy and dignified.”
Fethullah Gülen’s statement was released by the Turkish organization Pacifica.
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Executive Editor: Abdus Sattar Ghazali