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Hundreds of Muslims rally outside White House post-NZ attack

Updated March 26, 2019

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After Christchurch terror attacks, American Muslims are increasingly feeling the need to reach out to wider community. — Reuters/File
After Christchurch terror attacks, American Muslims are increasingly feeling the need to reach out to wider community. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: Hundreds of American Muslims and their supporters gathered outside the White House on Sunday to underline their dual identity as Muslims and Americans.

Shocked by the March 15 attack at a mosque in New Zealand that killed 50 worshippers, American Muslims are increasingly feeling the need to reach out to the wider community. “It made us realise that it’s not enough to continue to live in our comfort zones,” said Qazi Mannan, one of the organisers of the White House march. “We need to reach out to others and tell them who we actually are.”

The message was not lost on the larger American population.

Many visited mosques near their homes to express solidarity with their Muslim neighbours after the March 15 attack in New Zealand.

“You are welcome to live and worship here. You are loved as valued members of our community. May you never feel alone in the face of any adversary, for we stand with you,” said one of hundreds of messages placed outside mosques across the US.

Americans Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Hindus reached out to Muslim Americans, offering to jointly confront the hate and racism that in recent years has led to scores of attacks on religious institutions.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged Catholics to pray for the victims of the shooting and work with Muslims to confront hate.

The American Jewish Committee said it was “appalled by the murderous assaults”, and called the attackers “racist individuals imbued with pure hatred” of Muslims. “The answer must be unity, solidarity, and linked arms against evil,” the statement added.

“This horrific recurring pattern and epidemic of hate must end. No community or faith should ever feel unsafe in their house of worship,” said Sikh Coalition executive director Satjeet Kaur.

A strong message also came from a non-religious group, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, which has been fighting for equal rights for people of all colours and creed since 1909.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019