Coalition of Women in German Steering Committee Statement on Islamophobic Violence and the Murders in Christchurch
In recognition of the intertwined histories and present manifestations of antisemitism, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, heteropatriarchy, and white supremacy –
And as feminist scholars within German studies committed to intersectional understandings of social justice –
We condemn the Islamophobia, and all forms of white supremacy and racism, that have manifested in this last week in the murders at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, even as we mourn the victims. This is not an incident that has occurred apart from our own location in North America. The 2015 shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, the 2018 shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and the Christchurch murders are all part of white supremacist violence. This violence is not isolated to these individual acts of terror, but rather, a part of a wider structure of racist violence that is enabled and promoted by racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic speech, microaggressions, policies, and policy proposals.
We reiterate: As feminists, it is important to speak out in moments of oppression. We know that this violence is not new, but the murders last week in Christchurch painfully illustrate the ways in which white supremacy and heteropatriarchy continue to wield power in our society. We have joined in public protests, and we will continue to protest and speak out. We recognize that silence becomes complicity.
As a feminist organization, we are committed to scholarship that challenges interlocking systems of oppression and power. We recognize that feminist goals must include the end of racism and white supremacy. We recognize that the very existence of German studies in North America cannot be separated from a history of settler colonialism. We recognize that systems that promote and rely on Islamophobia; racism; xenophobia; sexism; homophobia; transphobia; ableism; colonialism; antisemitism; and other forms of exploitation, hatred, and exclusion are interlinked, and often support one another. For our members, students, and colleagues who are targeted directly, often daily, by these forms of oppression and violence – whether as physical threat or verbal aggression: we mourn with you and express our solidarity with all groups who work against these systems.
We once again call on our members, as teachers, scholars, and leaders, to name and challenge white supremacist heteropatriarchy wherever it appears, whether in everyday speech, social media, political discourse, or elsewhere. We cannot allow violent actions, speech and policies to become “normal!” We must interrupt a social context that enables such violence.