Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) About The Terror Attack Against Muslims In New Zealand

Marcelle and I are shocked by the barbaric act of terror against innocent Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand – a mass murder that took the life of 49 human beings.  Our hearts ache with the families of the victims and the communities that have been rocked by this attack.  Let us be clear about one thing:  This wanton violence was explicitly motivated by Islamophobic and xenophobic vitriol that has spread like a cancer in the age of social media.

I am saddened to see that, despite progress in many ways, the ghosts of our past are haunting us anew.  I remember back to the time when my Italian grandparents and Irish great-grandparents came to this country when there were still ‘Catholics need not apply’ notices on many job postings.  Overcoming this prejudice, my grandparents did what immigrants do best – work hard, create jobs, and enrich the communities they live in.  This is what immigrants and refugees have done – for centuries – in our country and around the world.

So it angers me to my core when bigots and their baseless manifestos continue to demonize immigrant communities.  And it should shock our collective conscience when these extremists act upon their delusions with deadly terrorist attacks.  Together we must decry any and all forms of prejudice around the world.  No country is immune to this threat.  Bigotry knows no borders.  Let us speak with one voice, loudly and clearly:  Hatred must have no safe haven.

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