Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Letter to Muslims in His City
A refreshing example of inclusive leadership by a presidential candidate.
Written by Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana
March 15, 2019
Dear Members of the Islamic Society of Michiana:
I am sorry that I cannot join you in person tonight, because I am traveling. But like you, I was shocked by this morning’s news of events in New Zealand. I know that this act of terror was intended to put fear in our hearts, and that the fear was designed to travel around the world. We are a long way from the place where this happened, but I know that on this Jummah Friday, many in our own community, especially people of Muslim faith, are wondering if they are safe or even if they belong.
As you gather this evening, I write to tell you that this City is absolutely committed to your safety and well-being.
I want you to know that this entire City has its arms around you, in love and peace, and that we support you as you practice your faith here in this community, our community, this home we share. We will do everything we can to ensure your safety as we do that of everyone who lives here and who visits here.
The diversity of our community is its strength, and the members of the Islamic community have greatly enriched this City, in your worship, in your service, even by the diversity of nationalities among your number. We would be poorer without you.
And I write not only to console you and reassure you, but to ask something of you. I wish to tell you not only that you are loved but also that you are needed. The City very much needs you at a time like this, because you help to demonstrate the values and desires that we all have in common. In your community involvement, in your professional work, in your very presence — when you live in accordance with your faith, and bring your stories and traditions to the tapestry of the City and country, you are not only exercising a right but also bearing a gift.
You are our teachers and our doctors; our neighbors and our friends. We all live here as one, and whether you grew up right here in South Bend or whether this is your first year in America, you have an equal claim on the blessings of life in this community, and a great deal to contribute. And so we are thankful to count you among us.