WASHINGTON, DC — The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera responding to the federal government’s inadequate response to deadly mass shootings at mosques in New Zealand:
“President Trump is making us all less safe by downplaying white nationalist violence when mosques, synagogues, churches and other houses of worship are under attack.
When asked if white nationalist violence is a rising threat, the President said ‘I don’t really.’ After the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh was attacked, the president did nothing but offer platitudes. After the Bloomington mosque bombing, the White House dismissed it as a ‘fake hate crime.’ And after Charlottesville, Trump called white nationalists and neo-Nazis ‘very fine people.’
The pattern is crystal clear. Whenever he is confronted with the violent consequences of white nationalism, President Trump deflects, equivocates and makes excuses. Also remember that he has said ‘Islam hates us,’ has called for banning all Muslims and has employed anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic people in his White House. These are the actions of a man who at best is afraid to call out white nationalist violence and at worst supports and encourages it.
After the Christchurch massacre, New Zealand’s prime minister took a sober-eyed look at her government’s narrow focus on ISIS-inspired terrorism and is now reviewing ways it can prevent white nationalist attacks. We know the president won’t take similar steps.
In the absence of any leadership from the White House, Congress must step up and take action to protect us. Holding a hearing on white nationalism is a good first step. Members of Congress must ask tough, probing questions of FBI Director Christopher Wray and demand that the FBI prioritize understanding, preventing and investigating the white nationalist threat.
The horror in New Zealand is just one of many examples of deadly white nationalist violence that our government is doing shockingly little to counter. Today, we are all less safe because of President Trump’s purposeful refusal to do anything in response.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.