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NAME Denounces shootings at New Zealand Mosques

The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) shares the grief and sense of loss from the 50 lives that were taken and many others injured on March 15 when a hate-filled gunman opened fire in two mosques while people were praying in New Zealand. As in the United States, such horrendous acts of domestic terrorism have their ugly roots in hateful, racist language. The attackers were driven by an inhuman hatred for Muslims. 
The wars and unrest in the Middle East have ignited a refugee crisis that the planet hasn’t seen since World War II. With the migration and resettlement in other countries of millions of adults, children and families has come a resentment and scapegoating of new arrivals. NAME has voiced opposition to such abhorrent behavior in the United States, and knows it can’t be tolerated elsewhere because of the “othering” and violence that too often follows.

NAME is not surprised that the New Zealand gunman’s manifesto in social media postings cited Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants. It praised Trump, saying he was “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” The 74-page document objected to immigration and multiculturalism and denounces the “decaying” culture of the white European, Western world. Trump’s language as a world leader in a position of power fuels a hurtful rage in others and terrible acts of violence against innocent people. 

The New Zealand attacks at mosques Masjid al Noor and Masjid Linwood added a new level to the all-too-common domestic terrorism seen in the U.S. The gunmen live-streamed the blood-bath on Facebook. The framing of the video showing only the hands of the gunman as he opened fire and reloaded in attacks on the victims was similar to the style of first-person shooter video games. Such media serve only to desensitize young people to the irreversible nature of violence against real people. Unlike the U.S., New Zealand is acting quickly to toughen gun laws so such mass violence does not recur.

The bigoted terrorism in New Zealand was reinforced by a statement by Australian Sen. Fraser Anning: “the real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program, which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place. The truth is that Islam is not like any other faith. It is the religious equivalent of fascism. And just because the followers of this savage belief were not the killers in this instance, does not make them blameless.”
NAME knows that the angry, unrepentant, hate-filled language amplified by the White House has taken root across the globe, targeting immigrants, people of color, people of Muslim and other non-Christian faiths, and all of the many “others” who fall outside of the white, Eurocentric dominance that has violently colonized this world, permeated world history, textbooks and teaching. It has to stop if the 7.5 billion people of the world are to overcome the violence that threatens everyone’s future.
To help end this continued context of violence, NAME again invites educators, communities, youth, and those with nonviolent passion to gather in Tucson, AZ, where more than a thousand educators pushing social justice and equity will center on “Decolonizing Minds: Forging a New Future through Multicultural Education.” We are a long way from that better place. And we remain committed to fostering schools and systems to where the domestic terrorism experienced in New Zealand and across the globe finally comes to an end.?

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