LGBTI groups, celebrities, and figures are responding to the mass shooting that happened in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday (14 March).
New Zealand police arrested and charged a 28-year-old man in connection to the shooting. They also have two other suspects in custody.
A gunman opened fire at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchuch, the largest city in the country’s South Island, and killed at least 41 people. About three miles away, there was a second shooting at Linwood Mosque. This shooting left seven dead.
A final victim died on the way to the hospital.
The man charged with the crimes is a self-identified white man from Australia. Prior to the shooting, he posted a 74-page manifesto filled with anti-immigrant and white nationalist ideas. He also live-streamed the shooting.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister responds
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the shooting was one of the country’s ‘darkest days’.
‘We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism,’ she said during a news conference. ‘We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it.’
Ardern continued: ‘Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand. They may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.’
Her statement concluded: ‘They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.’
HRC, GLAAd, and more speak out
GLAAD wrote in a tweet their ‘hearts break for the Muslim community’.
Our hearts break for the Muslim community in New Zealand after this horrific terror attack. We must stand together against the Islamophobia, anti-Muslim hate, and white supremacy that fuels attacks like this.
— GLAAD (@glaad) March 15, 2019
‘We mourn the loss of life of peaceful worshippers in last night’s unconscionable, hate-fueled violence in New Zealand,’ the ACLU wrote.
We mourn the loss of life of peaceful worshippers in last night's unconscionable, hate-fueled violence in New Zealand.
A sad reality is anti-Muslim sentiment has long been on the rise right here in the US.
We must reject religious bigotry in all forms. https://t.co/P3APygxA5X
— ACLU (@ACLU) March 15, 2019
We will not rest until all people can live without fear.
— ACLU (@ACLU) March 15, 2019
Planned Parenthood tweeted ‘we all deserve to live free from fear and violence’.
Islamophobia is real.
White supremacy is real.
Hatred is real.
From New Zealand to the U.S. or no matter where you live, we deserve better — we all deserve to live free from fear and violence.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) March 15, 2019
Stonewall UK wrote ‘it’s more important than ever to stand together in solidarity’.
Everyone here at Stonewall is shocked and heartbroken by the terrorist attack in #Christchurch. In the face of such a hateful and violent act, it’s more important than ever to stand together in solidarity.
— Stonewall (@stonewalluk) March 15, 2019
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin released a statement about the attack.
‘We are heartbroken and outraged by this terrorist attack on Muslims in places of worship, and we mourn for the victims and their families,’ he said.
‘Hate violence against Muslims is a global epidemic, fueled by the toxic combination of Islamaphobia and xenophobia that has led to tragedies here in the United States and in nations around the world. […] Now is a time to be united against hate — not engage in the “both sides” rhetoric that only serves to legitimize extremists.’
He continued: ‘On this day, and every day, we join in solidarity with the Muslim community, including LGBTQ Muslims, to honor the victims of hate-fueled violence with action and to combat hate and bigotry in all of its forms.’
‘Woke up to the most heartbreaking news imaginable’
Other LGBTI individuals responded to the news.
Singer Troye Sivan wrote that he was ‘sick to his stomach’.
Woke up to the most heartbreaking news imaginable. Sick to my stomach over the atrocities in Christchurch. Thinking of all the families, and the Islamic community of New Zealand 💔
— 👼🏼 (@troyesivan) March 15, 2019
Sivan was born in South Africa, but moved to Australia when he was two and grew up in Perth.
Gay Senator Tammy Baldwin:
My heart is with the victims of horrific hate and tragic gun violence at a house of worship in New Zealand. Wisconsin sends our deepest sympathies to the families and friends who lost a loved one in Christchurch.
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) March 15, 2019
Gay journalist Kyle Buchanan was in the country when the shooting happened and said he was ‘heart broken, soul heavy’.
I’m still in New Zealand, now well south of Christchurch. Heart broken, soul heavy. https://t.co/G0kXNHTA8F
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) March 15, 2019
Several Democratic presidential candidates also tweeted about the attack.
My heart is heavy with grief for New Zealand & Muslims worldwide affected by the tragic murders in Christchurch. The massacre of those in a house of worship, in prayer, is evil & cowardly. We stand with our friends around the world to condemn hate & speak out against intolerance.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) March 15, 2019
I’m sickened by the news coming out of New Zealand—the horrific terrorist attack targeting Muslims at prayer that killed at least 49 people.
The rising tide of white supremacy and Islamophobia around the globe must be met with our determination to work against hate.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) March 15, 2019
.@jacindaardern we mourn with you, the Muslim community, and all New Zealanders. We join you in standing up to hatred and extremism at home and around the world—today and every day. https://t.co/U3ha7jY5xK
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) March 15, 2019
Our thoughts are with the victims of the horrific attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. No one should have to fear for their life because of their religion. We must come together to condemn all forms of hate and violence to build a future of respect and understanding.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 15, 2019
Pete Buttigieg, the only openly gay candidate, wrote simply: ‘White nationalism kills.’
And yet again, the obvious bears repeating: white nationalism kills.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) March 15, 2019