I feel steeped in horror, sadness and anger as the details of the horrific shooting that killed at least 49 people in New Zealand continue to emerge.
The moment we saw images of Alexandre Bissonnette’s name handwritten on the rifle that the perpetrator used, it ripped the scab off a wound we are still healing from after the Quebec City mosque shooting two years ago. It drove the stake further into our hearts.
We need to call this out for what it was — an act of white supremacist terrorism targeting Muslims. It came after dog whistle remarks made by elected officials around the world. The killer referenced U.S. President Donald Trump in his manifesto. After the attack, Senator Fraser Anning for Queensland issued a statement blaming Muslims and New Zealand’s immigration policy for bringing the attack on themselves.
Let that soak in. This statement was issued after a white supremacist used an assault rifle to kill at least 49 people while live-streaming the carnage. It happened after he wrote the names of other white supremacists and mass murderers on his weapons and posted pictures for others to see.
The 74-page manifesto of the Christchurch terrorist and the 1,500-page manifesto of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian killer who murdered 77 people, were inspired by and quoted known Islamophobes in the U.S. This hatred is no different from that which led to attacks on the Jewish community in Pittsburgh last October and on a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white supremacist in 2015.
We need to stop seeing these attacks as issues pertaining solely to the faith and or cultural group that’s targeted. You do not have to be Muslim to be heartbroken, angry or to grieve. You merely have to be human.
I am thankful for the countless friends, allies, readers and social media followers who have reached out to express their sympathy and offer support. So many have asked what they can do, and the answer is simple. Every one of us needs to use our voice to speak out against this hate. Gone are the days of just remaining silent on an issue that does not directly concern us. We all have the power to use social media to effect social change. It is up to us to wield that power.
I would be remiss if I did not address a massive undertone of people that are praising this act. The hate I wrote about only yesterday persists even after such a horrific event. I continue to receive messages of hate justifying and glorifying the perpetrator for ridding the world of Muslims.
This comes just after we learned that Quebec mosque killer Bissonnette is appealing his sentence and as Muslims are bracing for the CAQ’s pending law on hijabs and other religious symbols.
Our elected officials and media need to be held to task when making comments, issuing statements and proposing laws that only serve to stoke the flames of hatred, dehumanize members of an entire faith, and demonize those who are most vulnerable. This is especially important for us to remember as Canadians in an election year. Political rhetoric is sure to heat up in the coming months; it is imperative not to lose sight of our shared humanity.
Attending Friday prayers less than 24 hours after this horrific act was not an easy thing to do for most Muslims, yet mosques around the world remained full, albeit with increased security.
We are hurting, we are grieving, but we will not allow this horrific act of terrorism to steal our resolve to live life peacefully. We will not be silenced by those who would like to see us muzzled. We will not live in fear. We refuse to allow these senseless acts of hate to define us. In the days and weeks ahead, let’s make an effort to hold our families a little closer, hug our children a little harder and be gentler to those around us.
Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed is the founder and editor in chief of CanadianMomEh.com, a lifestyle blog.
from Montreal Gazette https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/fariha-naqvi-mohamed-we-all-need-to-speak-out-against-hate