Veterans Challenge Islamophobia organizers Nate Terani and Ramon Mejia were featured in the San Diego Free Press article “Veterans Talk Pathologies of Hate and Violence After Orlando Nightclub Tragedy”.
Below are quotes from Nate and Ramon from the article.
“Anytime a shooting or bombing occurs around the world, the collective hearts of 1.7 billion Muslims is shattered and the anxious prayer “please don’t let them claim to be Islamic” is uttered. This is because all Muslims know that the tenets of Islam proclaim that the unjust taking of one life is equivalent of killing all of humanity in the sight of God, particularly during this time of Ramadan — when it is forbidden to even engage in an argument with another person much less commit a mass shooting. This is precisely how every single Muslim in the world knows that the Orlando shooter was a fraud, whose only belief system was violence and hatred. But, true to form, in the aftermath of this tragedy, the world is witnessing the charity and goodness of Muslims, who are donating blood (even though they are fasting from food and water), bringing sustenance to those in need, or, like me, standing shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ+ community through tears in solemn vigils of remembrance for the beautiful souls we lost. We know that our bonds of kinship as minority communities cannot and will not be torn asunder by violence because our bonds are made of love and unity and they are everlasting.”
-Nate Terani (Navy veteran, VFP member, and Phoenix-based VCI field organizer)
“As a Latinx. A Muslim. A Veteran. A serious conversation is necessary to discuss the ways Toxic Masculinity, Militarism, Homophobia, and Islamophobia contributed to the shooting in Orlando, as well as helping shape the narrative told by US media outlets and posturing of U.S. politicians. We live in a society that is homophobic, heterosexist, and is discriminatory towards marginalized people. In communities across the U.S., both children and adults are learning to perpetuate oppressive behavior towards the LGBT+ community. Homophobia like Islamophobia can be fear-driven, but it is also contempt-driven.”
–Ramon Mejia (Marine Corps veteran, IVAW member, Texas-based VCI field organizer)