The massacre of worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand today, has been described by the country's police commissioner as an "unprecedented, abhorrent event" that's being investigated as a terrorist attack.
Indeed, the murder of 49 people and injuries to another 48 in a place of worship can only be described as an act of terror, but it would be naïve of us to think of this as an isolated event. Quebec City, Charleston, Pittsburgh, Finsbury Park, and countless more – there is nothing shocking about these events other than the fact that the world continues to be shocked.
Mere hours after the massacre, a far-right Australian senator put out a statement in which he claimed “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.”
While we would love to cast him as an anomaly or a right-wing nut-job, he is but one of numerous politicians who have promoted anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and Islamophobia rhetoric and whose words white supremacists hold dear.
The continued rise of Islamophobia and violence directed against refugees and immigrants across the world is unacceptable. The world cannot continue this way and it is up to all of us to work together to put a stop to this extremism.
We can no longer stand in silence when we witness acts of intolerance or violence against our fellow humans. Our inability to condemn Islamophobia and anti-immigrant language before an act of terror make us complicit to violence. How we treat others has consequences even if we’re not the one with our finger on the trigger.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers and its 50,000 members condemn this act of terrorism and extend their support and compassion to the Muslim community in Christchurch. Further, we condemn in the strongest possible terms those that would promote Islamophobia and violence against immigrants and refugees.
At this time of sorrow, we will continue our efforts to ensure that there is a place in our society for every citizen to live in peace and respect. We will not tolerate murderous acts directed against anyone. We will continue to challenge hate and violence.
Our members mourn for the deceased and feel pain in empathy for their loved ones and community. We wish speedy recovery to the injured and send our condolences to the families and all those mourning friends and loved ones.