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  • Nomi Bachar

The Mosque Massacre and our Hearts



Last week I wrote about the necessity to mend our hearts. This week our hearts were shaken again by the the worst terror attack in New Zealand history at the Christchurch mosque. I am sure you, just like me are wondering how and why would a young person come to have so much hate to propel them to kill 49 people and wound many others.

The questions are haunting and we are looking for reasons, answers and solutions.

The other night I was listening to an interview on PBS by Christiane Amanpour. She was interviewing a former neo-nazi , Christian Picciolini who is now working with youth to help them de-radicalize. I found his explanation to be poignant. He was explaining that the conditions to pre-radicalization for young people are a state of social awkwardness, loneliness, unresolved trauma and emotional insecurity. They are searching for theair identity, community and purpose. When they have a hard time finding it in life, so they find it online where they are embraced and accepted by the extreme groups.

He was talking about it as an epidemic and I happen to agree with him. The ideology is the last element, it becomes a suit of armor to cover emotional pain. It gives these young people a reason to blame someone else for their internal discomfort.

So, what should be done?

If this is an epidemic, as he says, the fastest growing social movement. We need to treat it as an epidemic. There are millions of young people who feel bullied, alienated, lonely and socially marginalized, they need to get the help via emotional and social literacy so they can gain an internal secure sense of themselves.

We need to create safety nets of prevention for them BEFORE they get so desperate that they reach out to the wrong channels.

Our educational system needs to invests more in programs that help young people emotionally and socially and each one of us needs to take responsibility for mending our hearts as well as supporting our community in doing the same.