Terrorism is Terrorism.
Our intelligence agencies are tasked with determining what the greatest threat is to our country and ensuring that it never sees the light of day. They all have come to the same conclusion: Domestic Terrorism and White Supremacists.
Their analysis was tragically proven right when a white supremacist and domestic terrorist walked into a grocery store, outfitted with military grade weaponry and armor, and unleashed terror and hate in the form of bullets, mercilessly murdering ten innocent people who woke up that morning and decided to get food to feed their families from their local supermarket.
His unabashed and unapologetic white nationalism was clear in his manifesto and it manifested itself by specifically targeting a predominantly African American community.
There were no good people on both sides, it was a terrorist on one side and people wanting to buy milk and eggs on the other.
Terrorism is terrorism.
Race, religion and creed have no part in how we talk about such attacks of hate and we at the Muslim Public Affairs Council have been have been in the forefront of pushing our federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies to adopt this method and approach. We applaud their change in tone and tenor and know that we must all work together to ensure such acts of terror become a relic of the past.
Given that a community-based approach to eliminating this kind of terror is the only way to make progress, MPAC’s WNY-Buffalo chapter shared their thoughts below.
MPAC-WNY Statement Regarding Buffalo Shooting
On the beautiful sunny and quiet afternoon of Saturday, May 14, 2022, innocent civilians were attacked by an 18-year-old depraved white supremacist, while shopping at the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue, in Buffalo, NY. The attacker was wearing military gear, reportedly carrying three firearms — a semiautomatic rifle, a hunting rifle, and a shotgun along with a head-mounted camera through which he live-streamed the attack spewing racial slurs and saying, “Just got to go for it.” In a matter of minutes, he hit 13 innocents, murdering 10 and injuring three. We are shocked and stunned at this incomprehensible act of violence. The terrorist, Payton Gendron, drove to this location from Conklin, NY, several hours away, with a strategic plan to execute black civilians.
In the aftermath, law enforcement arrested the terrorist. First responders began working quickly to give medical attention to the victims of this attack.
Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Muslim community, along with the rest of WNY community, grieving this horrific act that has shattered many families. We stand in solidarity with our African American brothers and sisters. We convey our heartfelt condolences to the affected families and friends during this difficult time. May the God of us all give them the courage and fortitude to sustain such immeasurable loss.
We will not forget the act of heroism of the security guard and former Buffalo cop, Aaron Salter Jr., who was killed while trying to stop the shooter. Our deepest gratitude to the first responders and law enforcement that worked tirelessly on the scene.
Gov. Kathy Hochul called the gunman a “white supremacist” who terrorized New York’s second-largest city in a “cold-hearted,” “military-style execution” as people were buying groceries. “It strikes us in our very hearts to know that there’s such evil that lurks out there,” she said. “This individual — this white supremacist — who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world as well.”
MPAC-WNY will work with the Churches and the Community leadership to support the victims and their families during this difficult time. The Muslim Community, through Jami Masjid, has established a fund for “Tops Market Shooting Victims” to support the families of the victims. The money raised will support funeral costs and medical expenses.
As we learn more from officials, about this senseless act of hatred, we stand together as a community. We support and love one another in this heartbreaking time. Check-in on your neighbors. Offer an open hand and heart to one another. As President Biden said, “Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism.”