We began writing this a few weeks ago, before the terror attack in Christchurch, before our communities found ourselves responding in a familiar way. The Muslim community triaging pain, fear, anger; the Jewish community checking in, showing up, answering a call for solidarity. Just a few months ago, after the shooting in Pittsburgh, our roles were reversed. We resist this new normal. And yet, we find ourselves here. Together.
Our sacred spaces have been attacked, our elders killed while praying; we recognize a call to stand together with more intention, more patience and generosity than ever, and in Minnesota we are answering that call. Our solidarity is our strength and our survival.
Our communities don’t share a faith, but do we share the same common purpose. We work on the same issues. We advocate at for policy at the state and local level, we turn out to protests, organize direct actions, and we support other marginalized communities.
We’re working together to pass legislation to improve law enforcement’s response to and reporting of hate crimes. We’re building a coalition that includes undocumented immigrants, people of color and indigenous people, and the LGBTQ community, because we know we’re most powerful when all impacted voices are at the table.
We are working for the same future.
That’s part of the reason that those who want to terrorize us — to scare us into submission; to kill us — want to terrorize us both. The man who attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue and the man who attacked the Al-Noor and Linwood Mosques had never met. They likely never knew of the other’s existence. But they came to the same conclusions, and they came to them through the same virulent, dangerous ideology: White Nationalism.
Part of the evil plan of White Nationalism is to generate fear and distrust between our communities. Between all communities, really. But especially between us — Muslims and Jews. Because when we blame each other — especially when we blame each other for the things White Nationalists do — we isolate ourselves. We separate ourselves from one another. And this makes us weak.
We know that white supremacists like the shooters in Pittsburgh and New Zealand see our communities as linked. If they imagine that immigrants and Muslims are the greatest threat to their white nationalist agenda, we know they see Jews as the controlling force behind multiculturalism. Our enemies see us as joint operators in an attack on whiteness and they’ll do anything to turn us against each other.
We must not allow such cynical tactics to win. We will not.
We’ll keep standing in solidarity with our friends and our neighbors and our chosen families. We’ll stay linked arm in arm after an attack like this, volunteering to walk each other to our cars, or standing watch during evening prayers. Our cooperation is what makes us stronger than them. It’s how we know they haven’t won, that they won’t win. Our power, together, is how we’re going to build the future all of us want to see. It’s how we’re going to change the world.
It’s not just the best way we have to fight back against white supremacy; it’s the only way to do it.
There may well be more of these attacks. But our message to everyone who would threaten us is simple: We will not be intimidated. We will not be divided.
Our solidarity is stronger than your hate.
Carin Mrotz is the executive director of Jewish Community Action. You can follow her on Twitter @mrotzie. Jaylani Hussein is CAIR-MN’s executive director. Follow him on Twitter @jaylanihusain.