“Hate will not win. Our communities are resilient,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Minnesota in response to the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shootings.
The Friday massacre claimed 50 lives, injured at least 50 others, and was streamed live on Facebook. An identified gunman, 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant of Australia, reportedly left behind a 74-page manifesto that expressed anti-Muslim and immigrant sentiment and praised President Donald Trump as a symbol of “renewed White identity.”
CAIR-MN joined leaders around the world in expressing shock and sadness over the massacre and condemning the hatred that spawned it. “This is an attack on the faith community, and an attack on any place of worship is an attack of all places of worship,” said Hussein at a press conference.
“The community in the past hours has been dealing with the aftermath of the attack and what it means for us here in Minnesota,” he continued, “particularly as we have seen an increase in anti-Muslim organizing in our state that has led to the attack on the Bloomington mosque just a year and a half ago.”
Hussein called on local authorities to offer extra protection for Muslim communities. He also condemned President Donald Trump’s “rhetoric” for helping to incite anti-Muslim sentiment.
President Trump downplayed the rise of White nationalism when asked by reporters at the White House. He called the killings “evil” and “horrible” but attributed it to a small group of people “with very, very serious problems.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, one of the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress, and a target of anti-Muslim sentiment, herself, took to social media on Friday to express her shock over the shootings.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to hold the position, also took to Twitter in response to the massacre:
Ellison tweeted out a link to a Muslim Solidarity Gathering at Dar Al Farooq Center in Bloomington. The center was the target of a 2017 bombing by members of an Illinois militia group.
Both the Minneapolis and St. Paul police have announced increased protection around local mosques and other places of worship in response to the attacks.
The Muslim Solidarity Gathering takes place Sat., March 16 from 2-4 pm at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center, 8201 Park Avenue South in Bloomington.
Also, CAIR-MN will host a Challenging Islamophobia Conference on Thurs., March 28 at Metropolitan State University. The event was planned prior to the New Zealand shootings.
The MSR will continue to follow this story as it develops.