On Friday, March 15, a White supremacist entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and opened fire. By the time the attack ended, 50 people were dead.
It was an act of terrorism designed to go viral. The 28-year-old Australian live-streamed his act of barbarism. He peppered the written manifesto with references to internet culture. Photos from his court appearance show him making the “OK” symbol with his hand, a once-innocent gesture that has been coopted by White supremacists to signal “White power.”
The attack was meant to attract attention, to spread the ideology of the attacker far and wide. It was meant to strike fear in the hearts of innocent people who might be targeted because of the way they express their faith.
On Monday, a group of Puget Sound residents made a point of showing that they would not be cowed.
People flocked to the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in Redmond for an interfaith vigil and teach-in meant to combat the Islamophobia that inspired the attacker in Christchurch. They rallied with signs reading “We Stand With Our Muslim Neighbors” and looked on as Muslims prayed, foreheads pressed to the ground.
We live in a time where our national leaders feel free to declare bans on travel from Muslim-majority countries, and say that there are “very fine people” among a group of White supremacists that marched on Charlottesville and killed a protester. Monday, the people of Puget Sound showed that they would not be part of such bigotry. They showed where they stand.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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