Ethno Nationalism is against our creed: MuslimARC's Statement on Saturday's Buffalo shooting

Ethno Nationalism is against our creed. 

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. To God, we belong and to God, we shall return.

Our country is once again in mourning. 

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, an 18-year-old self-proclaimed white supremacist traveled hundreds of miles to Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, and murdered 10 people and injured 3 others.  The suspect posted a racist manifesto about his white supremacist ideology and plan to attack the Black community and live-streamed the mass shooting. Our prayers are with the victims, Ruth Whitfield (86), Roberta Drury (32), Aaron salter (55), Heward Patterson (67), Pearl Young (77), Geraldine Talley (62), Celestine Chaney (65), Katherine Massey (72), Margus Morrison (52), and Andre Mackneil (52), survivors, and the Buffalo community.


As an organization dedicated to anti-racism education, we are committed to countering hate with a systems change approach. What can we do to address the trauma and toxic ideologies that make our communities more vulnerable to individual and state violence? Below is a list of actions we can take. 

Create Communities of Care

We encourage everyone to take the time they need to process their grief and the full range of emotions. Our communities have faced generational trauma from slavery, colonialism, and militarized police states.  In these moments, we must turn to our faith as we bear witness to suffering while centering healing and empowerment. We must ask ourselves what resources do our communities need to engage productively in self-care around this massacre? We can support those directly impacted through crowdfunding, to help cover burial and medical costs. Cultivating Communities of care includes mutual aid and systems change work to address disparities that many residents in East Buffalo experienced, such as food deserts. With the closure of the store due to the investigation, many residents cannot get their groceries. We must support the immediate and long term needs of impacted communities

Challenge  White Supremacist Conspiracy Theories  

White supremacy is an ideology that holds that white people, culture, beliefs, and practices are superior to the cultures, beliefs, and practices of people of color. Violent white supremacy has been instrumental in shaping the United States from slavery to the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan during the Reconstruction period through the current day in conservative political discourse. Anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, native genocide, and Anti-Muslim animus sit at the core of White Supremacy.

We must understand that the shooting was not a product of an isolated ideology, but animated by the Great Replacement Theory. The Replacement Theory was once a fringe conspiracy theory embraced by far-right white nationalists globally, although its rhetoric and ideas are long-standing parts of white supremacy. There are elected officials and journalists like Tucker Carlson who have expressed these views giving fuel to the burning embers of hate already in white supremacists’ hearts. The great replacement theory posits that there is a plot to replace the political power and culture of white Christian people in North America and Europe. White nationalists fearing that they will be replaced have driven cars into Charlottesville counter-protest and run down the Afzaal family who were simply going on a family walk in Canada.  It has inspired other mass shootings including the 2011 Olso and Utoya attacks (69 fatalities), the 2015 Charleston church shooting (9 fatalities), the 2017 Quebec mosque (6 fatalities)  2018 Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue massacre (11 victims), the 2019 Walmart in El Paso shooting (22 victims), and the 2019 Christchurch massacre (51 fatalities). 

The theory uses violent rhetoric of invasion by immigrants. It is vilely anti-semitic as it argues that Jewish elites are responsible for the replacement plot as Black people are not considered smart enough. Its roots can be found in anti-Asian immigration laws in the 19th century and quotes in the early 20th century, which were reversed by the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. 

We can counter Replacement Theory by helping others understand its source. Amplify those who are speaking out against it, by sharing their speeches, articles, and quotes. Hold public officials accountable. This rhetoric must be de-platformed and debunked on social media and we must hold social media platforms accountable. Ethno-nationalism and conspiracy theories such as the Great Replacement theory have no place in media and mainstream politics.  


Cultivate Anti-Racism in Schools

Right-Wing groups are promoting misinformation about passing legislation to ban social justice and anti-Racism in schools. They argue that CRT is a radical theory, while segments of their community remain ignorant and promote violent anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-Black rhetoric. The Zinn Education Project has organized a campaign to counter Critical Race Theory (CRT) peril.  Dr. Ibram Kendi, a renowned Anti-Racist author, and professor points out that K-12 anti-racism education  can help counter; “…antiracist books serve in a protective fashion, particularly from white youth, when they are exposed to white supremacy, because through learning about the history, let’s say, of white supremacy, they’re better able to recognize it.” Anti-racism education debunks conspiracies such as the Great Replacement and helps youth identify white supremacist ideologies in memes and games as wrong.

Columbia University professor Amra Sabic-El-Rayess explains the idea of what she calls “educational displacement” where alienated  White students become radicalized online and connect their personal grievances to a larger ideology.  She argues that educators need to engage in matters that pertain to them in. 

Challenging White Supremacy will require more of us to get involved in the fight to teach the truth in our local schools and demanding this education be offered and required. The National Education Association concluded: “The best place to prevent that radicalization is U.S. classrooms.” In our nonviolent movement, studies have shown that all we need is 3.5% to change the world. Becoming involved in local school boards and ensuring that local candidates embrace anti-racism is an important strategy to counter racist narratives.   


Counter CVE and CP3

On the heels of the violence is a renewed call from the Department of Homeland security for turning strategies used against Muslim communities on white extremists. In 2019, Counter Violent Extremism program was renamed The Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) then, in 2021, it was renamed as the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3). Civil society and Advocacy groups such as the Brennan Center, CAIR, ACLU, and others who protect civil liberties of the most vulnerable warn of the long-term harm of CVE and its many iterations.. The funding provided by DHS is given to social programs and community organizations in exchange for information, which weaponizes these organizations’ services and turns them into surveillance tools. Following the violence we saw this weekend, there are renewed calls to support CP3, however, Oklahoma has shown us that programs that kickstarted to address white violence often target communities of color. 


Reports have shown that white supremacist Extremist militias and neo-nazi groups infiltrated law enforcement agencies, military, and government offices. Fatema Ahmad writes, “By the same token, any individual who commits violence that upholds white supremacist systems cannot be held accountable by those same systems.” White nationalist groups recruit and justify violence while valorizing the skills and experiences of current and former law enforcement, members of the military, and veterans. Vice versa, many local law enforcement agencies actively sympathize with the white supremacist cause and turn a blind eye to their actions. Given the racial disparities in law enforcement, deploying CP3 programs will normalize such programs and further harm communities of color without addressing the root causes. 

We must collectively counter harmful narratives, as well as counter policies that criminalize and target marginalized communities. Hate crimes do not occur in a vacuum but are supported by political rhetoric and state violence. As Replacement Theory comes to the great attention in the media, MuslimARC renews our call for people to tackle xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia through anti-racism education and organizing for a just world. 



Further resources and suggested actions

➡ Donate Launchgood-  Muslim Community for Tops Market Shooting!/

➡ Read: Antiracist Scholar Ibram X. Kendi: Republicans Must Address How White Supremacists Target Youth 

➡ Read: The ‘Great Replacement’ Theory, Explained 

➡ Read: How the ‘Great Replacement Theory' Has Fueled Racist Violence 

➡ Read: Explainer-What Is 'The Great Replacement' and What Are Its Origins?  

Read Factbox: Victims of Tops grocery store shooting in Buffalo, New York

➡ Listen Tops is more than a Buffalo Supermarket

➡ Read Food Desert Buffalo Shooting

➡ Research the Gun Violence Archive 

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