Washington, DC — One year ago this Sunday, a white nationalist gunman motivated by anti-immigrant hatred murdered 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera:
“‘Hello, brother.’ Those were Haji-Daoud Nabi’s last words as he welcomed visitors to the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand one year ago.
Only a brief moment later, Nabi would become the first victim of a white nationalist gunman. Before the day was done, two mosques would be attacked, 51 people would be murdered, 49 would be injured and Muslims across the world would have their basic sense of safety shattered.
Nabi’s last words likely rang familiar to anyone who has ever visited a mosque—where strangers are met with open arms and treated as brothers and sisters. What also rang familiar to many of us was a growing sense that our mosques were in danger and our families unsafe.
We were devastated by what happened in Christchurch, but not surprised. For years, attacks on houses of worship have been an all-too common reality for people of color and people of minority faiths. Black churches, synagogues, gurdwaras and mosques have been threatened by arson, vandalism, bombings and mass shootings. At the same time, we saw white nationalist militias organize on tech platforms like Facebook, which hosted the livestream of the Christchurch massacre.
For years, law enforcement, intelligence agencies and tech companies have failed to prioritize the global threat of white nationalist violence even as it has grown in its reach, coordination and aggression. In the aftermath of Christchurch, we urged all of them to take concrete action to prevent this hate from spreading.
One year later, we have not lost our ‘hello brother’ spirit and we will continue to fight for our lives to be taken seriously—for the eradication of white nationalist violence and for the chance to live our lives free of fear.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.