A call for unity after New Zealand shootings
by Yara Ahmed
On March 15, three men went into a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, killed 42 people and then proceeded to drive across town to a second mosque to kill eight more people and leave 50 more injured. While this terrorist attack directly affected the people of New Zealand, the pain and the loss that came as a result was echoed throughout every community around the world.
I heard about this event from a very good friend of mine while at a softball tournament in St. George. At first, I felt numb. I felt desensitized because this had happened too many times before. So I thanked her for telling me, and I tried to move on. But the pain I was feeling slowly crept out until I felt like I was drowning in it. I slept very little that night as I had finally realized what actually happened. I lost 50 of my Muslim brothers and sisters.
As a Muslim myself, I felt their pain. I felt as if I was morning their deaths like they were my own family. This attack felt so personal that still whenever I think about it, it becomes hard to breathe.
In a manifesto the gunman praised President Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” This attack was done by a Trump supporter and although this happened on foreign soil, I feel that it still connects to the U.S. greatly.
I, as a Muslim woman in America, feel less safe as a result of this attack. Whenever I think of this act of terrorism, it is hard for me not to put myself into these innocent people’s places. This could very easily happen here. It could very easily happen to me or to my family and friends.
Although this thought is absolutely terrible and heartbreaking, it is the most logical connection for someone in my position to make. These people are my brothers and sisters. We are connected through our faith, and still, even a month after this event has happened, I am still mourning their loss.
As a student at a Catholic school, I have a special perspective on this topic. I understand that it would be very simple for someone who isn’t Muslim to distance themselves from the attack and just say, “that’s too bad” and move on, but there is so much you can be doing to stop this from happening again.
We need to educate people on the realities of Islam and the fact that it is a peaceful religion. We need to show people that Islam is constantly misrepresented in the news and that arguments against the religion hold no water.
However, we need non-Muslims to join the fight. No one who is Islamophobic will ever listen to anything that I have to say as a Muslim myself, but they will listen to people of other faiths.
I understand that this is asking a lot, so if you don’t want to join the fight this way, join in other ways.
Join by showing a Muslim friend that you support them even in trying times like these. I know that when people support me it makes me feel more confident in my identity as a Muslim American and that alone means the world.
I love the Judge community because it is a community that uplifts, so help me in uplifting our fellow Muslim students in a time when they feel the most lost and scared.