It has been more than two weeks since the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand and MECA did not put out a public statement. At the time, we thought, “What is there to say?” That we condemn it? That it is horrendous? That we stand with the survivors and mourn the victims? All those statements are true but seemed insufficient. At the time, MECA’s friends at the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) put out this powerful and eloquent statement that we share with you now. New Zealand is not old news. It will never be over for the survivors and it reverberates in Muslim communities all over the world, and it will take all of us, together, to force white supremacy to release its deadly grip on our lives.
As Arabs and Muslims, we are deeply saddened and disturbed by the news of the murder of 49 people in two New Zealand mosques. We are outraged that white supremacist violence continues to take the lives of so many.
Today is a truly difficult day, situated amid truly difficult conditions. Despite the shock we might feel along with our feelings of grief, we know this is not senseless violence. These acts of hatred and destruction at the hands of vigilantes are a logical outcome of the racism, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, and white supremacy promoted and sanctioned by right-wing movements and governments. The attack on the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch is driven by a white nationalism that fuels attacks on mosques, Black churches, and synagogues, and the heightened assault on migrants here in the US. And it is this same white nationalism expressed in the Trump Administration, its Muslim ban, the disgraceful Islamophobic attacks on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the forced separation of families at the border.
Our collective defense is the deepest and most unwavering form of solidarity. It is imperative that we continue building movements that are prepared to defend and protect one another against all odds. History, and our own recent past, have shown that when we come together to protect and defend one another, we build a strength that is in fact able to contend with some of the most impossible of circumstances. It is also imperative that we build a united front to confront and topple right wing authoritarian movements and regimes across the world–whether it be Trump, Bolsonaro, Marquez, Duterte, Netanyahu, or Modi—and build our power to end violence, militarism, and war where we live, and globally.
As we mourn the loss of life in New Zealand, let’s honor their lives by expanding, connecting and defending our movements to build a world where all people are liberated from structural violence and can live with dignity and self-determination.