New Zealand mosque shootings impact students on campus

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Days later, and thousands of miles away, the impact of the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 50 and left another 50 injured, is being felt on campus.

It was heartwarming to see how many actual people who aren’t Muslim, supporting all the Muslim families, where families died and it was just an absolutely amazing thing to see,”

— freshman Zain Rahmini

The alleged shooter, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, has been charged with murder. Prior to the attack, Tarrant sent a lengthy 87 page anti-immigration manifesto via email to the New Zealand Prime Minister’s office but officials didn’t have enough time to act on it.

Freshman Zain Rahmini was in Saudi Arabia for a religious Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca at the time of the shooting.

“This was such a big event because there have been mass shooting before, but this was kind of the biggest thing for all of us Muslims that it made us realize that how serious it is,” Rahmini said. “It was heartwarming to see how many actual people who aren’t Muslim, supporting all the Muslim families where families died and it was just an absolutely amazing thing to see. I wasn’t there at the time, I was at a religious pilgrimage, but during that time while i’m watching these news stories, I see all these people who aren’t even Muslims holding signs, shaking hands with people, and going in there helping out.”

Fellow Muslim junior Shuaib Jiwani hopes the tragedy of the shooting will hopefully spark a great sense of community.

“I feel like it was very evident that there was some white supremacy going on and it kind of affected the Islamic religion everywhere, not just in the area that was affected,” Jiwani said. “Me and my community at the mosque this weekend we actually had a gathering and there were actually a lot of white families that came to support us and tell us that they were sorry for our losses and everything so was actually very good bonding moment for within our community. I think the stereotypical reasoning for people is still going back to 9-11 obviously but I think that we are a peaceful and humble community that has the same values and ethics as everyone else does and that we shouldn’t be treated differently. there should be more like community gatherings between inner-faiths and interfaiths to kind allow A conjoining process between the two and eliminate the stress in between multiple religions.”

While, New Zealanders are rallying together to support the Muslim families, and are hosting vigils in remembrance, some students such as senior Wade Glover, try to make a difference in their own way.

“It definitely has a mental and emotional toll people that share their beliefs and people who believe in the same God they do were being targeted for those beliefs and that’s just completely unacceptable,”

— senior Wade Glover

“Any attack on a group of people or person based on their religion or something that they believe in or something that they can’t control or some aspect of themselves is heinous and what happened to New Zealand is just another example of bigotry turned into violence,” Glover said. “In the days after 9-11, a Muslim woman walked into my church and handed my pastor flowers and said we are not all evil and every year or every other year my pastor repeat this and he says that this story had an impact because this woman felt compelled to come in and share that her faith is not responsible for this action. I remembered the story Friday morning when I was hearing about the event in New Zealand and I just felt compelled to do the same thing. I got flowers job to the mosque in Plano it’s the Islamic Association of Collin County and I walked in and I handed the flowers to the president of the mosque and just said I’m sorry.”

Recognizing the shootings didn’t physically hurt Muslims in Plano or Frisco, Glover says the impact stretched well beyond the Pacific Ocean.

“It definitely has a mental and emotional toll people that share their beliefs and people who believe in the same God they do were being targeted for those beliefs and that’s just completely unacceptable,” he said. “I remember it’s had a huge impact on my pastor that someone went out of their way to drop off flowers after a tragedy and say I’m sorry, and I hope it had just as great of an impact and I hope my actions contributed to some kind of healing.”