Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg assured the Muslim community in his hometown of South Bend that they have the city's support in the wake of the Christchurch New Zealand terrorist attack.
Friday afternoon's deadly massacre, in which 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant opened fire inside two New Zealand mosques, claimed 49 lives and injured 20 others.
Tarrant, who is charged with murder, had written a 78-page manifesto extolling anti-immigration views and praised white supremacists like Dylan Roof, who shot and killed black churchgoers Charleston, S.C., in 2015.
The South Bend mayor penned a powerful letter after the overseas attack raised fears among the Muslim community in the U.S.
"I know this act of terror was intended to put fear in our hearts, and that the fear was designed to travel around the world," wrote the 38-year-old Democrat in an open letter addressing his city's Muslim residents.
The first openly gay Democrat considering a run for president posted the open letter on Friday as Muslims gathered for their weekly prayer.
"As you gather this evening, I write to tell you that this City is absolutely committed to your safety and well-being."
"I want you to know that this entire City has its arms around you, in love and peace, and that we support you as you practice your faith here in this community, our community, this home we share."
"The diversity of our community is its strength, and the members of the Islamic community have greatly enriched this City, in your worship, in your service, even by the diversity of nationalities among your number."
"We would be poorer without you."
Some words for South Bend's Muslim community. https://t.co/CyLZOrah7b— Pete Buttigieg (@Pete Buttigieg)1552691615.0
Buttigieg added that an attack on a specific group of people is an attack on us all, and reminded that "white nationalism kills."
An attack on people as they pray peacefully, however they worship and wherever they are, is an attack on us all. Ma… https://t.co/OiTiq7bOm3— Pete Buttigieg (@Pete Buttigieg)1552660097.0
Charleston. Orlando. Pittsburgh. Christchurch. We face a global epidemic of hate. How we end it is a not just matte… https://t.co/iRPyzZHP0n— Pete Buttigieg (@Pete Buttigieg)1552689629.0
People like Brett Childs who were previously reticent about supporting the Muslim community broke their silence and joined the Indiana mayor.
@PeteButtigieg Thanks Pete. As a white, aging American male happily residing in New Zealand, I am crushed that a pe… https://t.co/YaDI9LFZdz— Brett Childs (@Brett Childs)1552660476.0
While Buttigieg has yet to make a formal announcement about running in the 2020 presidential election, people who have not heard of him before are starting to take notice.
@PeteButtigieg this is what leadership looks like— your thoughtful wonk 👩🏻💻☕️ (@your thoughtful wonk 👩🏻💻☕️)1552661721.0
@PeteButtigieg You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.— Tuxedo Mask (@Tuxedo Mask)1552708114.0
@lezelmaz @Girlstar68106K @PeteButtigieg I'm not 100% on anyone yet, but this response is impressive. Looking forwa… https://t.co/MIKDDhyDD4— Tuxedo Mask (@Tuxedo Mask)1552714688.0
@TheLoveBel0w @lezelmaz @Girlstar68106K @PeteButtigieg A week ago, I had barely heard of @PeteButtigieg20. My siste… https://t.co/tAYeoIFG0i— Michele Polk (@Michele Polk)1552731488.0
@PeteButtigieg Thank you, Mr. President!— heather petropoulos🏳️🌈 (@heather petropoulos🏳️🌈)1552660936.0
@PeteButtigieg And this is exactly why I will put my support behind you 100% in your run for the White House. You a… https://t.co/7Lt29FaJiW— Susan Mitchell (@Susan Mitchell)1552691887.0
@PeteButtigieg OMG who ARE you? I mean this as a compliment in the best way possible.— NATTY GANN (@NATTY GANN)1552693033.0
Buttigieg concluded his letter with:
"You are our teachers and our doctors; our neighbors and our friends. We all live here as one, and whether you grew up right here in South Bend or whether this is your first year in America, you have an equal claim on the blessings of life in this community, and a great deal to contribute. And so we are thankful to count you among us."
The Democratic presidential candidates already crowding the primary field features Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), among others.
But for now, Buttigieg is on everyone's radar during these charged times.