Democratic Presidential contender and mayor of South Bend, Ind., Pete Buttigieg penned an open letter to his city’s Muslim constituents after a deadly mass shooting in New Zealand killed at least 49 Muslim people and injured dozens more in two mosques on Friday.
“As you gather this evening, I write to tell you that this City is absolutely committed to your safety and well-being. I want you to know that this entire City has its arms around you, in love and peace, and that we support you as you practice your faith here in this community, our community, this home we share,” he wrote, acknowledging Jummah Friday. “The diversity of our community is its strength, and the members of the Islamic community have greatly enriched this City, in your worship, in your service, even by the diversity of nationalities among your number. We would be poorer without you.”
“I wish to tell you not only that you are loved but also needed,” he added. “You are our teachers and our doctors; our neighbors and our friends. We all live here as one, and whether you grew up right her in South Bend or whether this is your first year in America, you have an equal claim on the blessings of life in this community, and a great deal to contribute. And so we are thankful to count you among us.”
Some words for South Bend's Muslim community. pic.twitter.com/CyLZOrah7b
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) March 15, 2019
Before the message, Buttigieg also tweeted, “the obvious bears repeating: white nationalism kills,” and grouped the shooting in Christchurch with others in Charleston, S.C., where black Christians were killed by a white supremacist, and the 2016 shooting in Orlando, at the Pulse Nightclub, a space for LGBTQ+ folks and their allies.
The Australian gunman, whose own white supremacist and extremist views have been documented online, opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday. In his manifesto, he praised Dylann Roof, who gunned down the nine churchgoers in Charleston in 2015.
Buttigieg, who is openly gay, launched a presidential exploratory committee in January.