March 11, 2021
Issue: Fighting Bigotry
Ahead of Christchurch Anniversary, Faith and Civil Rights Groups Warn FBI of Copycat Attacks
The Year, Christchurch Anniversary Falls Near Start of Ramadan and Passover
WASHINGTON, DC — On Thursday, Muslim Advocates and a coalition of leading faith and civil rights groups asked the FBI to prioritize the safety of mosques, synagogues and other places of worship ahead of March 15, which marks two years since the deadly shooting that killed more than 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. In a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the groups warn that attempted copycat attacks on mosques and synagogues have been planned or executed in Singapore, the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Norway. The groups also stressed the need for extra vigilance due to the fact that this date falls near the start of both Ramadan and Passover this year.
“Though the FBI is now prioritizing white nationalist violence after members of Congress have been threatened, we have not seen that same commitment to protecting our communities,” said Muslim Advocates Special Counsel for Anti-Muslim Bigotry Madihha Ahussain. “Director Wray has ignored our requests to meet for years, even when our churches were burning, our synagogues attacked and our mosques threatened. Houses of worship are sacred spaces and the FBI has a responsibility to protect them from violence. We urge Director Wray to take these threats seriously so we can simply pray in peace.”
In 2019, Director Wray ignored a meeting request from the same coalition to discuss the continued threat of white nationalist violence to mosques, synagogues, Black churches, and gurdwaras in the wake of the Christchurch massacre. This year’s request is expanded to address vandalism at houses of worship serving Asian Americans, which have been targeted over the past year.
“We write to you at the precipice of a time period when threats and attacks against mosques and synagogues have surged in recent years to strongly urge that you prioritize the safety of our communities as we approach the date of the Christchurch Massacre on March 15 and the upcoming holidays of Passover and Ramadan,” stated the letter.
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.