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A standing-room-only crowd of over 400 people gathered Saturday, March 16 at the Islamic Society of Michiana in South Bend to support the local Islamic community. The gathering was in response to the massacre on March 15 at two mosques in New Zealand in which 50 people were killed and 36 more were wounded.

The bishops’ pastoral letter, “Open Wide Our Hearts,” points out that “the evil of racism festers in part because, as a nation, there has been very limited formal acknowledgement of the harm done to so many, no moment of atonement, no national process of reconciliation and, all too often a neglect of our history.” Their emphasis is on Native and African Americans, but the bishops also speak of “rising anti-Semitism, the discrimination many Hispanics face today, and anti-Muslim sentiment."

The bishops identify racism as America’s original sin. That begs the question, “Who is the sinner?” The speakers at the gathering at the Islamic Society of Michiana did not hesitate to answer: white supremacists! We must all ask ourselves: To what extent do we hide the attitudes of white supremacy or white privilege deep in our souls? We hope that we would not commit such an atrocity as happened in New Zealand, but these attitudes help fuel the actions of warped individuals who would.