Once again the world is reeling from an act of hate and terror. The tragic events in New Zealand, in which at least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers, have shocked us all, but especially resonate with our UCI Muslim community.
On behalf of the entire UCI family I extend our support and solidarity to our Muslim students, faculty, staff, friends and neighbors. We join you in expressing our deepest sorrow to the victims’ families and communities, so far away in miles yet so near in spirit.
In my few years as chancellor I have written too many messages of this type. A year and a half ago, when we announced our Confronting Extremism initiative, I observed that “in recent years and months, we have seen increasing displays of hate, violence and unrest entrenched in extremism” and said that “it is vital that we confront extremism head-on with our collective values of tolerance, equity, diversity, inclusion and free speech.”
The threats posed by people who deny our common humanity and glorify acts of violence are real and persistent. We must confront these threats by fully acknowledging and understanding them, teaching about them, and most importantly, asserting a more humanistic vision for the future.
Let us remain united behind our life-affirming values, and let us work toward a future where we replace hate with love, violence with peace, and intolerance with respect.