We are dismayed and saddened over the anti-Muslim shooting at al Noor and Lindwood Mosques in New Zealand. We echo Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s comments that regardless of how each one of us came to our home country – native born, immigrant, refugee – we are all equally part of our community. There is no “us” and there is no “them.” There is only “we.” No matter the place we call home, everyone deserves to be welcomed and safe. And no one should feel afraid to enter their house of worship.

We pray for those whose lives were lost in this terrible act, for their families and for our Muslim brothers and sisters here and around the world. Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska stands with the people of New Zealand and our friends of all faiths to advocate for the dignity, respect, and inclusion of diverse people, cultures, and ideas.