One of the largest Muslim advocacy organizations in the United States is taking aim at Donald Trump in the wake of the deadly attack in New Zealand, saying they hold Trump responsible for promoting a rise in Islamophobia.
On Friday, a gunman opened fire in a mosque in the city of Christchurch in an attack that left scores dead. As ABC News reported, the attacker, a white man in his 20s, posted on a number of far-right websites about his plans to kill Muslims and also live-streamed video of the shooting. A long manifesto was also posted in which the alleged shooter praised other mass shooters and advocated for white supremacy.
The shooting led many to call out Donald Trump for his own harsh rhetoric against Muslims, including instituting a travel ban for those from a handful of Muslim-majority countries. The Council on American-Islamic Relations took it a step further, saying that Trump’s rhetoric was directly responsible for the rise in Islamophobia contributing to such attacks.
“During your presidency and during your election campaign, Islamophobia took a sharp rise and attacks on innocent Muslims, innocent immigrants and mosques have skyrocketed,” Nihad Awad, the Executive Director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, said at a press conference.
There have already been links between the alleged New Zealand gunman and Donald Trump. Per a previous report by The Inquisitr, the gunman’s manifesto praised Donald Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” though mocked his abilities as a lawmaker and world leader.
#CAIR: White House fails to recognize Muslim victims following mosque shooting— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) March 15, 2019
At a press conference Friday, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on Trump to more vigorously... https://t.co/eZjOh6HuRG
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad to Pres. Trump:— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 15, 2019
"Your words matter. Your policies matter ... You should condemn this not only as a hate crime, but as a white supremacist terrorist attack ... You need to condemn this community today." pic.twitter.com/xp6WjAbGs7
This is not the first time a deadly attack has had an alleged link to Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Last year, an ardent Trump supporter from Florida allegedly mailed bombs to several politicians and media members who frequently come under attack by Trump on Twitter and at campaign rallies. Trump has also been blamed for inflaming racial tension that includes a number of violent clashes, most notably the protests in Charlottesville that left one person dead and many others injures as the white supremacists who gathered to protest the removal of Confederate statue had violent clashes with counter-protesters.
Donald Trump issued a statement offering condolences to the victims of Friday’s attack in New Zealand, though The Daily Beast noted he broke from other world leaders by failing to mention terrorism or condemn the hatred that led to the attack.