New Zealand remains in shock after a white supremacist stormed two mosques in Christchurch, during Friday prayers, killing at least 49 people and injuring more than 40 others. As details about the shooting continue to emerge and the victims are identified, here are some ways you can help their families and communities.
The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre, a nonprofit organization supporting Muslims and Islamic communities in New Zealand, aims to raise about $1 million ($1.5 million NZD) to help with the “immediate short-term needs of grieving families.” The center is raising money through Launchgood, a crowdfunding platform focused on the Muslim community worldwide.
Victim Support, an organization that provides emotional and practical support to victims of trauma and serious crime in New Zealand, is collecting donations “to provide resources and support” to victims and those affected by Friday’s shooting. The group said it is developing a formal process for how the money will be distributed because it is receiving many more donations than it expected, but it promises to use the money only for the victims’ financial and other needs.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has set up a fund to help the Muslim community of Christchurch. Last year, two Muslim organizations raised more than $200,000 to assist families in the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, according to NBC News.
“Unfortunately we are all too familiar with the devastating effect a mass shooting has on a faith community,” Meryl Ainsman, chair of the Jewish Federation’s board said in a statement Friday.
Penny Appeal, a Muslim nonprofit founded in the U.K., has started a fundraising appeal in partnership with its Australian offices, to support victims with immediate community care and to “help with funeral costs and ongoing practical support.”
For those who are unable to help financially, advocates say you can consider doing the following:
Organize or Attend a Vigil
Vigils have been organized across New Zealand and the globe to express condolences and solidarity with New Zealand’s Muslim community. Check if your local community has organized such an event or consider organizing one yourself.
On Friday, people in the U.K. and U.S. showed up to their local mosques with signs of support. If you are considering going to the closest mosque, Qasim Rashid, an Muslim American attorney and activist running for the Virginian Senate, tweeted the following advice:
- Yes it’s a good idea, but be alert to security protocols. Call ahead if possible
- No gift of any sort needed. Your solidarity is what’s most important
- Dress modestly as you would for any house of worship