Democratic freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, said on Friday that "love trumps hate" and urged solidarity with Muslims in the wake of a deadly terror attack at two mosques in New Zealand.
Democratic freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who shares the historic distinction along with Omar, expressed outrage over the attacks in a statement on Friday, saying, "This morning I tried to hold back tears as I hugged my two brown, Muslim boys a little tighter and longer. The painful loss of life based on hate makes me so angry."
Speaking to reporters in Washington, Omar called the hate-filled terror attacks "devastating," saying she had woken up on Friday morning to the news.
At least 49 people were killed and 20 seriously injured in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
Omar referenced the fact that Friday is the Muslim community's holy day of the week, a day when the faithful attend services at mosques, and said she hopes Muslims will continue to attend the Friday prayer service known as jumah.
"Today is the day that Muslims around the world go to the mosque to observe their jumah prayers," Omar said, adding, "I know that there was a call for people to not go and I said to people that is what the terrorists want us to do. That is a win for them. So we must face that hate and terror with love and compassion and not only should Muslims be going to jumah today, everyone should join them in solidarity."
Tlaib, in the statement released by her office, also referenced jumah, saying, "Today, is Jumu'ah (Friday) prayer for Muslims across our nation, and as each one kneels to worship Allah (yes, it means God), I pray that they are protected and can find some kind of peace. I hope that our children don't become numb to this, and that this is not their new normal."
Tlaib added, "I am so angry at those who follow the 'white supremacy' agenda in my own country that sends a signal across the world that massacres like this is some kind of call to action." She also said, "From Charleston, to Pittsburgh, Texas, Oak Creek, New Zealand and many places in between, white supremacists are targeting places of worship to push their violent, racist and terrorist agenda."
The New Zealand attack was unleashed at lunchtime local time on Friday, when mosques were full of worshippers.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as a terrorist attack, saying it was perpetrated by suspects with "extremist views" who had no place in her country or the wider world. It was one of New Zealand's "darkest days," she said in a news conference.
Omar said, "We have to make sure that we are resilient, loving and that we are creating an environment that recognizes all of our worth."
She later reiterated her call for solidarity, saying, "I ask Muslims around the world to go and do their jumah prayers and ask our friends and our neighbors to stand in solidarity."