Interfaith Allies’ Statements Condemning Anti-Muslim Violence


ING’s interfaith allies join us in condemning anti-Muslim violence this week. We deeply appreciate their quick action and friendship. Below, you can read the full statements as well as link to the corresponding organizations’ websites.

According to the lessons of our religions, the laws of our land, and the moral code of the universe, we truly are each others’ keepers. May it always be thus.

Statement by Congressman Mike Honda

This past week, I was heartbroken by the news of the senseless murder of three young Muslim Americans in Chapel Hill. Deah Barakat was a second year dental student who was admirably planning to visit Turkey to treat Syrian refugees. His young wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Sal, was a community leader and conducted philanthropic work. Yusor Mohammad Abu-Sal’s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, was a sophomore at North Carolina State University.

Friends and family of the three knew them to have been especially kind, always extending a helping hand to anyone who needed it. They are remembered as being examples of upstanding, involved, and altruistic community members.

This tragedy has weighed heavily on their friends, family, and Muslim Americans throughout our nation.However, witnessing the overwhelming perseverance of the Muslim American community during this difficult time has given me tremendous hope.

I admire and applaud the unity and resilience they have demonstrated during this difficult time. I stand now with my Muslim American brothers and sisters in calling for a serious and thorough federal investigation into whether this was a crime motivated by religious intolerance. The family and friends of the victims deserve a fair investigation and a just conclusion.

No matter the outcome, we as a country must always strive to oppose the profiling and targeting of minorities in our country. The death of Yusor, Razan, and Deah will not be in vain. It is my hope that this tragedy will unite all Americans and remind us to respect the value of all lives.

Mike Honda
Member of Congress

Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley

It is impossible to fully imagine the heartbreak of the families suffering from the brutal murder of Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill.

Along with the thousands that attended their funeral, the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, representing Jews across the South Bay area, joins in expressing our horror over this incomprehensible crime, and our desire to comfort the bereaved.

We wish to honor the exemplary lives of these young students, by standing together with people across the country who are saying We Shall Not Be Silent. We shall not be silent about the plague of gun violence that must be addressed. We shall not be silent about Islamophobia that we fear was part of the motivation for this crime. As Jews we know all too well the strength and persistence needed to speak up against bigotry, and so we are actively following the FBI inquiry into this violence as a hate crime. The combined threat of violence and bigotry is a scourge that impacts the entire fabric of our society and our identity as Americans.

We deeply regret that our Muslim neighbors are feeling targeted simply for their religious identity, especially as the additional event of the mosque fire in Houston has literally added flames to the concerns. We stand in sympathy and solidarity, now and in the future.

Statement by Silicon Valley Interreligious Council

A week ago, people around the world were celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week, a week dedicated to building peaceful relationships among the diverse religious communities of the world. SiVIC chose to observe that week with efforts to build compassion. We encouraged people in our community to reach out to one another across boundaries that separate us from each other, and celebrated those compassionate actions, as part of SiVIC’s commitment to build a more just and compassionate society in Silicon Valley.

So it is that we are especially stunned and saddened by the senseless shootings in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and by the persistent negative depictions of Islam and attacks on Muslims, both verbal and physical. We are grieved by the police beating of an elderly Indian man in Alabama, because he “looked black.” Nearly every day comes word of yet another act of violence, fueled by hatred of those who are marked as different.

The three young Muslims killed on Tuesday, Deah Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, were inspiring and active members of the whole community. Our entire nation is the poorer for the loss of their spirit, heart, and vision. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of these young people who are gone before their time.

Sureshbhai Patel was merely visiting his family, walking down the street, when attacked by a police officer, an attack that left him paralyzed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Patel and his family, as well.

We affirm our love and respect for our friends and co-workers from the Muslim and Hindu communities of Silicon Valley and commit ourselves to working together with them and others for a better future for all our children and our children’s children.

We renew our call for compassion, not only in our own community, but in our nation. We call on the media, elected officials, and social media to stop using language designed to inflame passions, divide people from their neighbors, or isolate any group. We call on our fellow citizens to find non-violent ways of dealing with disagreement, whether it be over parking spaces, religious beliefs, or political stances. And we call on us all to find ways to stand up against hatred, reach out to our neighbors, and affirm the worth and dignity of all human beings.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life and work we celebrated just last month, “We must learn to live together as brothers [and sisters], or perish together as fools.”

SiVIC Board

Statement By Jewish Community Relations Council

Dear Maha and Friends at ING,

We write on behalf of the Jewish Community Relations Council representing more than 60 synagogues and Jewish organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area to share our condolences and express our shock and horror over the tragic and brutal murder of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We are holding their parents, family, and friends in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Although authorities continue to investigate whether anti-Muslim hate was a motivating factor in this senseless and cowardly act, we know that many Americans, including Muslim Americans, have an understandable fear that such animus played a role. Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, along with other forms of bigotry and hatred, are direct affronts to American and Jewish values of inclusivity and pluralism, and to our belief that all human beings are created in the image of God. An act of violence directed at Muslims is an act that unequivocally harms all of us.

As a community with a long history of facing discrimination and violence, the Jewish community stands with the Muslim community in our abhorrence of this deadly crime, and hopes this expression provides some comfort at this difficult time.


Rosalind Franklin, President
Rabbi Doug Kahn, Executive Director

Statement by Hindu American Foundation

Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) deplored the murder of three students of Muslim faith at their apartment near the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill on Tuesday afternoon. Craig Stephen Hicks surrendered unconditionally at a Durham County police facility and has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of the victims,” said Murali Balaji, HAF Director of Education and Curriculum Reform. “We hope that Chapel Hill police will find out the motive for this tragedy and make sure that the families of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha get justice. UNC and city officials should use this tragedy as an opportunity for further engaging diverse populations to ensure campus and community harmony, in addition to bolstering safety against gun violence.”

The police are continuing to investigate the motive behind the crime. Possible leads include a dispute over a parking spot, as well as bias against Islam by Hicks based on his alleged earlier posts on social media outlets.

University and school settings have historically been common sites for gun violence, based on official statistics. HAF has called for gun reform to curb violence particularly targeting student settings and houses of worship. HAF has been engaged with White House and Administration officials on bolstering gun reform since the violent attack that took the lives of 26 children and teachers in Sandy Hook, Connecticut as well as the shooting at a Sikh Gurdwara in Wisconsin, both in 2012.

“Gun violence is a tragedy that can easily be remedied if common-sense reform is implemented by our lawmakers,” said Suhag Shukla, Esq., HAF Executive Director and Legal Counsel. “The motive behind such incidences may be many, but easy access to firearms further exacerbates the frequency of such attacks.”