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This morning a shooter walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue during its Saturday service and reportedly yelled “all Jews must die” before embarking on a shooting spree which resulted in the death of eleven people and the wounding of others, including four police officers. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, the Tree of Life synagogue congregation, and all those impacted by this heinous attack.
Jews have long been targets of hate in the Western world. This crime of hate is but the latest in a long string of hate crimes against Jews—and others. And it is but part of a shocking rise of hate crimes and incidents of bigotry over the past two years in the US and elsewhere. It is incumbent on all people of conscience to speak out boldly and forcefully against this attack and against all the forms of bigotry that spawn these deadly acts. We must institute a “zero tolerance” policy for any expressions of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and any other sort of bigotry. Whether targeting a synagogue, mosque, gurdwara, or minority church, the attitudes and ideologies that can give rise to these acts of hate challenge the very foundation and fabric of this nation, which was built upon religious freedom, pluralism and liberty.
As Americans, we stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters to say, we will not tolerate these acts of bigotry, hate, and violence. As Muslims, we know too well how it feels to be afraid in our own houses of worship. We hope that as you hug your children before bed tonight, you will feel a little bit safer knowing that we feel your pain and have your back. As ING Executive Director Maha Elgenaidi emphasizes, “An act of hate and violence against one of us is an act against all of us.”
As they did previously after the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, Muslims are supporting their Jewish brothers and sisters through a crowd funding campaign which you can donate to here. We also encourage you to join vigils in solidarity with Jewish communities today and in coming days.