Most letter writers offered the heartfelt expressions of solidarity and grief typical after massacres like this one. Others — including some Muslims — responded also with pointed words condemning white supremacy, islamophobia and violence.
Saif Hussain of Woodland Hills mentioned President Trump:
The toxic spread of global Islamophobia manifested itself in an unlikely place Thursday — New Zealand. While the media and general public are focused on the unmitigated horror of this atrocious act of terrorism, it might behoove us to also consider root causes.
The normalization, and in many cases the legitimization, of anti-Muslim bigotry has been fueled by countless “mainstream” individuals and groups. There is no better example of this than the president of the United States, who called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States during his campaign — a ban that he later promulgated and the Supreme Court shockingly validated.
This brazen Islamophobic bigotry has spread to New Zealand. To view this one incident in isolation would be tantamount to missing the forest for the trees, not to mention overlooking the pernicious role of uncaring hatemongers like Trump and his ilk.
Munjed Farid Al Qutob of London decries discrimination faced by Muslims:
The New Zealand attack is an assault on our common humanity. It demonstrates the salient fact that terrorism knows no boundaries — national, religious or otherwise.
I just returned from Ghent, Belgium. A professor there told me how the Muslim community is now besieged by job discrimination and social ostracism.
As we convey our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of this horrid attack, we reiterate our belief that Islam remains an oasis of tolerance, mercy and global solidarity, and that we should spare no effort in fighting terrorism.
Rabbi Allen S. Maller of Encino offers a prayer:
When I say the Friday evening prayers tonight, I will join with hundreds of American Reform rabbis who will recite Kaddish, a special Jewish Aramaic prayer said for the dead, for the 49 Muslims killed in New Zealand.
This attack is only the latest on a long list of recent acts by white supremacist terrorists. Others include the killing of 12 Jewish worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, the killing of six Muslims in a Quebec City mosque in 2017, the shooting deaths of nine black Christian parishioners in Charleston, S.C., in 2015, and the slaughter of 77 Norwegians in 2011.
Everyone who loves democracy must mourn all the various victims of terrorism. We must never give in to negativism and hate. One can only overcome death by living a better, kinder and more holy life. My prayers will be with all Muslims who mourn these 49 victims.