Let’s look at the response from Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, on the day of the recent New Zealand Muslims Massacre. In her powerful speech, she said, “Shooter is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. The New Zealand government would stand by the victims and the Muslim community.”
She finished her speech with the Arabic greeting “As-salam-Alaikum,” which means “Peace be upon you.”
Let’s have a closer look at President Donald Trump’s tweet that day, “My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
Did he mention the shooter, a white supremacist? Did he mention the words “terrorist” or “terrorism”?
Imagine if the shooter would have been a Muslim. Trump would have immediately called him a terrorist and have associated him with our religion and called him an “Islamic terrorist.”
This double standard of our President continues to create substantial safety concerns for over 3 million law-abiding, proud American Muslims because it gives green light to white supremacists to continue murdering innocent people.
Ardern even gently spoke out against Trump, rejecting his attempts to play down the rising threat of white-supremacist terrorism and urging him to show his solidarity with “all Muslim communities”.
What a stark contrast between the two leaders. That is why the world leaders lauded Arden’s swift actions and called her a courageous and thoughtful leader who care about immigrants and refugees and call shooter who he was- a terrorist.
New Zealand shows the U.S. what leadership looks like. America deserves a leader as good as Ardern. God Bless her. Let’s nominate her for Nobel Prize for Peace this year.
But we, as community members, should also get more organized and action-oriented. For example, when innocent lives are lost during mass shootings, we organize vigils where people from various communities gather together showing their solidarity. Unfortunately, these vigils are getting more routine in the last few years due to a significant rise in “white supremacy”.
While vigil is an excellent way to show our support for each other, some strategic thinking is needed to make these vigils more effective in an effort to stop such shootings from happening in the future. For example, we need to make concerted efforts to invite elected officials of both parties (Republicans and Democrats) to these vigils so that they can hear directly from our diverse communities that we all are united against hate, bigotry and racism.
We demand that:
◆ at these vigils, elected officials of both parties speak and condemn the strong way possible all shooters, regardless of their religion, color or ethnicity.
◆ at these vigils, our elected officials pass anti-hate resolutions in a bipartisan way.
◆ our elected officials hold mainstream media accountable if the media provides different coverage of the shooter who is a Muslim versus that who is not.
◆ our elected officials immediately pass hate crime laws in those states that do not currently have them, and
◆ the National Republican and Democratic Governors Associations create anti-hate taskforce to study root causes of hate, review successful models in other states and countries and then implement their recommendations in an effort to build an inclusive community and a strong America free of violence and extremism. .