50 Worshippers Killed in New Zealand
As Hate Online Turns to Violence
Show Up and Stand With Our Muslim Neighbors
50 Muslim people were killed during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand as a 28-year-old gunman waged an assault on worshippers while he filmed the process, posting live on Facebook. Children were killed, with their parents and grandparents. People watched their friends and loved ones die. The loss of these lives is reverberating around the world.
Communities around the world are gathering to show support. Muslim organizations are grieving and asking communities to learn about their faith and speak up in response to hate.
Hate violence is escalating as white nationalist terrorists take more lives to incite fear and sow division. The attack in New Zealand is now part of a traumatic pattern. Eleven Jewish worshippers were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh; Six people were killed in a Quebec mosque; Nine African Americans were shot to death during Bible study at Temple Emanuel in South Carolina; Six were killed before service at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, and in an equally deadly massacre, 49 people were slain in an attack on an LGBT nightclub in Florida.
The white nationalist killer in New Zealand and the anti-Semitic gunman in Pittsburgh emulated another terrorist in Norway. In 2011, a white nationalist gunman killed 77 young people at a political camp because he said he wanted to eliminate the next generation of progressive Norwegians and incite others to spark a worldwide racist war.
Hate Online and Hate Violence
For those who debate the dangers of hate speech and the spread of white supremacist ideology, the livestreamed murder of 49 people in Christchurch provides some answers to questions like:
Do trolls on the internet act on the hate they seek to spread on line?
Are white nationalists with a racist- anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant agenda using online recruitment to incite violent acts?
Is misinformation and divisive online trolling a tool of the white supremacist movement?
Educating ourselves on these dangers and developing clear methods for countering hate speech is not just a question for tech and media companies, it’s an urgent issue for all of us.
Take Action and Show Support
As hate spreads online, our actions to counter hate in person with each other in our own communities are more vital than ever. Not In Our Town communities are mobilizing now. Here are some ways to connect and take action.
- Join with your community group/faith group or neighbors and reach out to your local Mosque or Islamic Center to offer support. Show up and stand with them to secure their service.
- Gather your community to remember those who were lost in New Zealand.
- Talk to your children, family and friends about anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, racist and anti-immigrant messages they are seeing online and seek ways to overcome misinformation and hate.
- Urge Local Leaders to meet with and show support for Muslim residents.
- Ask Law enforcement to increase security at Mosques.
- Hold a teach-in about Islam.
- Host an interfaith event to show support for all who are targets of hate.
- Contact local media to urge them to develop policies to monitor and counter hate speech.
- Don’t feed the trolls: Don’t escalate the divisive, hateful rhetoric spread in online posts.
- Share our NIOT Stop Hate Action Kits to respond to and prevent hate violence .
We Can Stop Hate Together. At times like these, the power of our voices and actions are needed more than ever.