When there’s a violent terror attack anywhere in the world, its effects are rippled outwards until every community feels it.
If a minority was targeted, then it’s an especially difficult time for every other member of that minority group. In the latest terror attack that has gripped the world’s attention for the past weeks, Muslims all around the world are feeling grief, pain, and fear for themselves.
“First, I felt so sorry for the victims, then I felt confused,” said junior Yazmeen Imam. “Why would someone do this? The first thing someone said to him when he entered the mosque was ‘shalon, brother.’ I just don’t understand how someone could be that hateful.”
How communities and countries deal with the aftermath of such a violent event is telling of how much they’re willing to do to prevent it from happening again. In New Zealand, change was enacted quickly and the highest government officials showed solitude for the New Zealand Muslim community by attending vigils, wearing headscarves, and holding moments of silence.
They weren’t all empty gestures either. About a week after the attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern passed gun legislation to prevent another shooting from happening again. She and the New Zealand government have wholeheartedly condemned the attack and explicitly called it an act of terrorism.
This is in stark contrast to American responses to gun violence, which range from blatant inaction to giving ‘thoughts and prayers.’
In Roanoke and all across America, Muslim communities have been praying for and sending money to the victims of the attack. Money is being raised, vigils are being held, and prayers are being sent with absolute sincerity.
“I would say that everyone came together to support them,” said junior Mahum Hashmi. “I think every Muslim felt a little bit of fear, like it could happen to them too.”
Imam also cites the fear she felt as a shared feeling. “My dad told my brothers not to go to the mosque that day. He was a little afraid that it could happen to us next. Hearing about it, it kind of felt like a mosque wasn’t as safe anymore.”