As is often the case these days, I found out about the shooting first on social media.
I didn’t hear it from traditional news outlet. I heard it from stunned individuals in the Muslim American community expressing their sympathy and condolences to the victims, their families, their churches and their synagogues.
Muslim Americans have seen their share of hate crimes in the last twelve-plus years since 9/11. The fact that this time another religious minority was targeted didn’t make it any better.
One of the first communities, if not the first, to speak out in support of Muslim Americans after 9/11 were members of the Japanese American community.
120,000 members of their community were herded into incarceration camps during World War II simply because they looked like the enemy. Japanese Americans recognized immediately after 9/11 that Muslim Americans could face the same persecution. As more hate crimes surfaced against Muslim Americans, Japanese Americans were right behind them denouncing the insanity of it all.
This week’s shootings gave Muslim Americans pause.
The national civil rights group South Asian Americans Leading Together or SAALT issued the following statement that echoed many of the sentiments already expressed by others in their community.
“SAALT is deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic shootings at a Jewish Community Center and assisted living facility in Overland Park, Kansas on the day before Passover. While the alleged shooter’s motives are still being investigated, it appears that anti-Semitic sentiment may be at the root of this horrible incident. Every community in our nation is affected by such senseless incidents of violence, and we extend our support and deepest condolences to the Jewish community of Overland Park and the Kansas City area as well as those affected around the nation. Yesterday’s tragedy underlines the importance of a concerted, proactive, and multifaceted national conversation on hate crimes and violence. SAALT stands ready to join and support this conversation.”
The Council of American Islamic Relations and the Sikh coalition issued similar statements.
— Valarie Kaur (@valariekaur) April 15, 2014
It’s often said that its times like these when its most important for us to reach out in solidarity and show our support for those in need.
South Asian Americans are an important part of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. I’ve heard both South Asian Americans and other Asian American subgroups point out there are major differences among the different groups.
Some question the whole concept and identity of Asian Americans as too broad and not practical.
While these cultural and sometimes political differences can’t be denied, the bond that brings us together makes us stronger. That must not be forgotten as we mourn the deaths in the shootings in Kansas City.
Police believe suspect Frazier Glenn Cross targeted Jews in his killing spree. His victims, however, were all Christian. It’s a reminder that none of us are safe from hatred.