Reflections on the Attacks at New Zealand Mosques

MSP Program Director Dr. Shannon Chávez-Korell sent the below letter to the entire community following the attacks in New Zealand.

Dear MSP Students and Colleagues,

My heart goes out to all of our Muslim students, colleagues, friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters in the wake of the shootings at two New Zealand Mosques on Friday.  My hope is that you can find some measure of safety and solace in knowing that the MSP Community grieves with and stands alongside you.  In a time when assaults against Muslims have surpassed those that followed the September 11th attacks, xenophobic and anti-Muslim sentiments are potentially emboldened by these heinous acts.  

Anti-Muslim sentiments targeting Muslims, Arab Americans, and those perceived to be belonging to those groups, have serious mental health implications. As psychologists and students of psychology, we work to “increase people’s understanding of themselves and others…to improve the conditions of individuals, organizations, and society (APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 2010, p. 3).  Guided by the spirit of our Ethics Code and in solidarity with my Muslim sisters and brothers, I offer some actions we can all take to combat Islamophobia:

*Visit a mosque to learn about Islam (arrange date/time for a visit to learn more)

*Get to know your Muslim neighbors, colleagues, and fellow citizens in an effort to build new relationships and strengthen our community.

*Host interfaith gatherings.

*Check out the Frequently Asked Questions at Islamic Network Group (for answers to questions about Islam):

*Learn about American Muslims through research studies like this one from the Pew Research Center:

*Model acknowledgement of multiple worldviews, challenge explicit and implicit bias, and act with an ethical compass.

*We can involve ourselves in advocacy on local, regional, and national levels.

*Stand up and speak out when you hear someone being harassed/attacked or when hateful rhetoric is used.


Muslim Wellness Foundation, Coping with Trauma (Community Trauma Toolkit):

If anyone needs to talk, please know I am here and I care.  Please don’t hesitate to connect with me.

In Community,

Dr. Chávez-Korell