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Remember These Muslims, Remember Islamophobia

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March 18, 2019

Ashraf Ali was known to have a quiet laugh.

Husne Ara Parvin was trying to save her husband, Farid Uddin, who was in a wheelchair.

Naeem Rashid’s first instinct was to grab the gun from the shooter.

Mohammad Imran Kahn owned two restaurants.

Linda Armstrong was known for “always being excited to do a good deed”.

Haroon Mahmood was working at Canterbury College as an assistant academic director.

Haji Daoud Nabi leapt in front of another person to save them from the gun.

Ahmed Jehangir’s brother is trying to fly to New Zealand on behalf of their family to visit him in the hospital.

Abdullahi Dirie, four years old, was the youngest in his family.

Mucad Ibrahim, three years old, was fleeing for his life.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un

These are only a few of the fifty people who have died and fifty Muslims who were wounded in the attacks on mosques in New Zealand during Friday prayer this week. There’s a lot I could say about Islamophobia, white supremacy, and the deep bigotry towards Muslims that puts us in danger everyday, especially when we go to our places of worship. But I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m angry.

White supremacy is the reason that Representative Ilhan Omar received such an aggressive response for calling out our country’s foreign policies at the same time our president was threatening national security. White supremacy is the reason a young student was vilified for feeling anger and hurt at a public figure’s hypocrisy. White supremacy is the reason Rep. Omar will always be held to impossible standards because she is Black and because she is Muslim. White supremacy is the reason a Palestinian Muslim person will be denounced for criticizing principles that harm her country. White supremacy is the reason these lives were lost.

Remember the names of the Muslim lives lost this week. Remember how the first victim greeted his murderer as a “brother”. Remember why referring to Muslims or mosques as “peaceful” suggests that Islam is, by default, violent. Remember that criticizing Israel and its actions towards Palestinians is not anti-semitic. Recognize how anti-Islamic rhetoric starts with the othering of Muslims from society. Realize that attacks like the one in New Zealand are not new and will never stop unless these truths are, at the very least, acknowledged.

If you can, donate to the victims’ families in New Zealand. It’s times like this when we can feel really helpless, but there is always something we can do. Despite everything, I have hope that one day we will live in a society where Muslims do not have to constantly justify their humanity.