Imam Ismaeel Chartier of Clifton Mosque in Cincinnati, Ohio said in a Friday sermon on March 15 following the white supremacist terror attack on the New Zealand mosques that Muslims should stand with their allies against religious bigotry. He praised the almost 200 Jews who came to the Clifton Mosque to show solidarity following the NZ attack, and said: "I choose to stand up against Islamophobia and antisemitism… We can start to hate all white New Zealanders, or we can hate the people who did the act and choose to love people." He urged his congregants to not share the videos of the shooting. Imam Chartier added: "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind… Let us be the ones who don't have retribution." The sermon was live-streamed on the YouTube channel of Clifton Mosque.
Following are excerpts:
Imam Ismaeel Chartier: We have two choices that we can make today. We can hide or we can stand with our allies and combat religious bigotry. In the first prayer, we had almost 200 men and women from the children of Israel here to support us. They walked down from the college down the street. Almost 200 people! We can be afraid and we can stop coming to the house of Allah, or we can stand strong and put our trust in Allah.
For me, personally, I choose love, I choose compassion, I choose to be brave and to stand up against Islamophobia and antisemitism. I choose to stand up and say: "I believe in 'There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger,' and I'm not afraid of anything you can do to me." That's what I choose.
So we have a choice. We can start to hate all white New Zealanders, or we can hate the people who did the act, and choose to love people, choose to be a "mercy to the worlds."
Don't watch those videos [of the shooting]. Don't share those videos. All you're doing is spreading hate. When we share those videos, two things happen. We make Muslims hate the "other," so they go out and do the same [thing], and then we tell those white supremacists who did this that they should go do it more, because we're just telling them: "Look, it's being shown everywhere." It's time we realized that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. We can't keep killing and killing and killing in a cycle. It makes no sense, my brothers.
Let us be the ones who don't have retribution. Let us follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad and be the ones who forgive and forget.