On March 15, the weekly Jumu’ah (Islamic midday prayers that occur on Fridays) were interrupted by mass shootings at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. These shootings were hate-based attacks, targeting the local Muslim community. Many of the victims are immigrants and refugees who had hoped to make a new life in New Zealand.
As of the writing of this post, there have been forty-nine casualties and at least forty-eight serious injuries as a result of the attacks. Although the suspect has been taken into custody, the aftershocks of this attack will continue to affect the community for a long time to come.
Tragedies such as this can often leave us feeling angry, scared, and helpless. Here are some ways that you can help those affected by the attack, whether you live across town or across the world from the Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
If You Have Been Directly or Indirectly Impacted:
- Check in with friends and family and mark yourself safe on social media if you are able to.
- Take advantage of local resources that may be applicable.
- You can register yourself as alive, report a loved one missing, and be reconnected with loved ones through the Restoring Family Links website.
- You can also report a loved one missing by calling 0800 115 019.
- The New Zealand Council of Victim Support has a 24-hour crisis line for those impacted by the attacks at 0800 VICTIM (0800 842 846).
- You can stay up-to-date by following the New Zealand Police Twitter account.
- Reach out to others and let them know how they can help you, even if that help is listening to you cry or offering a hug.
- If you need to talk to a trained crisis response volunteer, don’t hesitate to reach out to IMAlive, an anonymous online chat service. Situations like this can be chaotic and overwhelming. There is no shame in needing help processing what’s going on.
- Be gentle with yourself while dealing with the aftermath. Take time to be good to yourself by staying hydrated, taking breaks to relax, eating regularly, taking your medications, moving around, distracting yourself, and practicing other forms of self-care.
- In the coming days and weeks, try to maintain as normal of a routine as you can. Bigger tasks may seem overwhelming. Try breaking those tasks into smaller tasks and taking it one step at a time.
How To Help Others:
- Check on friends, family, or neighbors who may be feeling scared and hurt. Keep in mind that even if you do not live locally, people in your community may feel attacked because of the nature of this hate crime.
- Be there to listen to those who are affected, and ask them what you can do to support and comfort them. Focus on creating a safe space for expression and recovery for those who are hurting.
- Donate blood if you are able to. Even if you don’t live in or near Christchurch, your donation can help hospitals to treat other patients who are in need of blood transfusions near you.
- Donate directly to the New Zealand Council of Victim Support’s fund to provide resources and support to victims of the attack.
- Donate to the Muslim Crowdfunding site, LaunchGood, which will be distributing funds through the New Zealand Islamic Information Center.
- Donate through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, which has set up a fund for Christchurch victims as a way to stand in solidarity with them.
- Volunteer with the New Zealand Council of Victim Support, to provide help to those in need.
- Donate your time, money, or other resources to organizations in your area. This could be a local mosque or community center, victim support organizations, mental health and crisis response organizations, etc.
- Be patient, be gentle, and be kind. These may seem like simple tasks, but they make a huge difference to everyone you interact with.
It can be hard to remain calm when we see events like this in the news, even if we are not directly impacted. If you find yourself struggling with difficult emotions or are in crisis, you can reach out to IMAlive to anonymously chat with a trained volunteer.
Random Acts firmly rejects hatred of any type, and embraces kindness for others always. Our hearts are with those impacted by this attack. We urge you to be kind to yourself and to others.