Brooklyn Reacts to Christchurch Attacks

Kashif Hussain at Midwood rally (Photo by Zainab Iqbal via Bklyner)

Brooklyn politicians, including Borough President Eric Adams and recently elected Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, joined community activists and residents on Friday afternoon outside the Makki Masjid in Midwood in a rally of unity, following the Christchurch massacres at two mosques that left 49 people dead and many injured.

Zainab Iqbal in Bklyner writes that they chanted: “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here. No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here.”

“We gather here to mourn these senseless and barbaric murders of our brothers and sisters in Christchurch, New Zealand,” community organizer Kashif Hussain said. “Let it be clear that this was an act of terrorism. We’re experiencing the pandemic of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia. For those that believe that words don’t matter, this tragedy is a reminder that words do matter.”

“Unfortunately, when our president promotes bigotry and hate, it perpetuates fear and violence locally and globally,” he continued. “If you don’t believe me, then go read this terrorist manifesto.”

A moment of silence was observed for those who had lost their lives in the killings, and the imam of the mosque recited some verses from the Quran. Then, “Rabbi Bob Kaplan encouraged everyone to recognize the person standing next to them as a holy person,” writes Iqbal.

“That holiness may look a little different, may pray a little different, may act a little different, it may operate a little different,” he said. “But God creates us all. What happened in Christchurch, New Zealand was an act of unholiness. What is happening here right now in front of the Makki Mosque… is an act of holiness.”

Community leaders in Brooklyn described the fears felt by Muslims in the area, enough so that they would not attend Friday prayers.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle‘s Paula Katinas spoke to Cheikh Ahmed Mbareck, executive director of the Arab American Federation.

“We are working with the rest of the Muslim community of New York on a common response. There are supposed to be a couple of events in response to the attack and for wise and productive management of the ongoing fever within our community that woke up to be surprised by a tragedy of such a magnitude in our Western world,” Mbareck told the Eagle in an email.

He added that “the attacks would scare Muslims away from their local mosques.” A member of a Bay Ridge mosque echoed that belief.

Mohammed, a man who answered the phone Friday morning at the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, a mosque in Fifth Avenue, shared that view. Mohammed, who asked that his last name not be used, said the mosque normally sees 600 members come to Friday prayers. “That number is going to be down today. We pray five times a day. We are targets five times a day,” he told the Eagle.

The horrific incident was “the result of Islamophobia,” Mohammed said. “There is so much hatred against Muslims in this world. They call us terrorists. But who is the real terrorist? Innocent people were killed when all they were doing was praying. Islam is about peace and love,” he said.

What action has Council member Justin Brannan taken in response to the attacks? Find out and read more from community members, at Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

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