(CNSNews.com) – Women’s March co-leader Linda Sarsour came in for some flak on social media at the weekend after posting a tweet saying she was “triggered” by expressions of sympathy for the New Zealand mosque massacre from anyone who criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) recently for anti-Semitic remarks.
“I am triggered by those who piled on Representative Ilhan Omar and incited a hate mob against her until she got assassination threats now giving condolences to our community,” Sarsour tweeted to her more than 290,000 followers on Saturday. “What we need you to do is reflect on how you contribute to islamophobia and stop doing that.”
Over the following hours her tweet was “liked” by more than 14,000 Twitter users, although many also challenged her, asking what was wrong with condemning both anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish bigotry, or how calling out prejudice on one side somehow contributed to prejudice on the other.
Omar has been mired in controversy since taking her seat in the House of Representatives over comments about Jews, with some fellow Democratic lawmakers among those who have taken her to task.
Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist, is herself a controversial figure, known for harsh criticism of Israel and criticized for her association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, notorious for his views on Jews and Israel.
The advocacy group she co-founded, MPower Change, also responded to the mass killing in Christchurch, in which a lone shooter opened fire on worshippers in two mosques. The death toll has climbed to 50.
“This deadly violence is the inevitable conclusion of unchecked white supremacy and Islamophobia,” the group said. “To the elected officials who actively promote bigotry or stay silent as our communities are attacked; to the media who treat the proponents of hatred as mere talking heads; to the social media companies who either promote or make excuses for white supremacists and Islamophobes: Your words today are not enough.”
“We demand action, offered in solidarity, to root out the hateful ideology that led to this massacre.”
‘Create an atrmosphere of fear’
The accused shooter, a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant, depicted himself in an online manifesto as a fighter for “Europeans” whom he claimed were under threat from migration by people from other cultures who “seek to occupy my peoples [sic] lands and ethnically replace my own people.”
Although he said he does not hate Muslims who are “living in their homelands” there was an “anti-Islamic motivation” for the attacks and a desire for revenge against Islam for “1,300 years of war and devastation.”
Tarrant also voiced the hope his actions would stoke division, polarize people, incite violence and retaliation, and “create an atmosphere of fear and change in which drastic, powerful and revolutionary action can occur.”
The accused shooter was not on any security watch list in New Zealand or Australia, and claims himself to have no organizational affiliation, but to have been self-radicalized through Internet research and his own observations while traveling in Europe.
Islamic political leaders blamed the massacre on “Islamophobia.”
Turkey’s Islamist leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called the attack “the latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Twitter he blamed “these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where Islam & 1.3 bn Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim. This has been done deliberately to also demonize legitimate Muslim political struggles.”
Khan did not elaborate on the latter sentence, but the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the bloc of Islamic states, argues that actions taken in the fight against “foreign occupation” should not be viewed as constituting terrorism. (Pakistan’s military intelligence agency has long been accused of sponsoring terrorists fighting Indian rule in disputed Kashmir, and others fighting against U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.)
OIC secretary general Yusuf Al-Othaimeen said the Christchurch killings “served as a further warning on the obvious dangers of hate, intolerance, and Islamophobia.”