New Zealand Mosque Attack

Last Friday, in Christchurch New Zealand, a gunman killed and injured 50 people at two local mosques during daily prayers. The gunman’s apparent motivation was his anti-immigrant, racist beliefs. This has been a highly publicized case as it seems to be the latest in a long string of attacks on a places of worship, attacks which appear to be race motivated rather than religious. Another major attack in the same vein that comes to mind is the 2015 attack on a black church by terrorist Dylan Roof. InĀ response to these tragedies and the magnitude of Friday’s event, it makes me consider the relationship between race and religion. The United States has seen a major rise in domestic terrorist attacks on Mosques which appears to be a result of anti-immigration, anti-Islam sentiment born from the conflict with ISIS. To what degree is religious intolerance masked by race supremacy and vice versa, or is it a matter of race and religion blending together in the eyes of people in a way that solely identifies these people as “other”. Why are places of worship targeted so frequently? Is it intolerance for the religion itself, or intolerance of the people who frequent it? Or do terrorists just target places of worship to create the biggest tragedy and wound a community the most deeply? Or is it a mix of everything? Its really depressing to continue to see events where one individuals hatred is able to hurt so many people in so many ways.