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The Tragedy in New Zealand

March 15, 2019 4:39 PM
Dear Members of the UMBC Community,

This morning we woke to the tragic news of mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack, which was timed to coincide with Friday midday prayers, claimed the lives of 49 people and left 20—including children—seriously injured. Our hearts are with the victims, their families, the first responders who rushed to their aid, the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and all those who have been affected by this senseless act.

Muslims traditionally gather for prayers at midday on Friday; this is called Jummah, or the Day of Assembly. This deadly violation of a sacred space during Jummah prayers is heartbreaking. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this is “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.” We in America are sadly all too familiar with escalating violence and hate targeting community spaces including mosques, synagogues, churches, schools, and campuses. We must answer all hate crimes with a renewed commitment to advancing social justice, deepening our resolve to understand diverse experiences, and honoring the benefits such differences bring to our community and to humanity.

Community members seeking to explore these issues either personally or in community are encouraged to contact the Interfaith Center at 410-455-2686 or the UMBC Counseling Center at 410-455-2472; both will be open regular hours during spring break.

President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous
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