Faith Leaders Call for Solidarity with Jewish Communities under Threat

For Immediate Release:

January 24, 2017

Contact: Catherine Orsborn

Catherine.Orsborn@s2scampaign.org; (o) 202–544–8989

Faith Leaders Call for Solidarity with Jewish Communities under Threat

WASHINGTON — Twice in the past several weeks, Jewish Community Centers across at least 17 states have received bomb threats, forcing the evacuation of children, families, and individuals from the facilities, which include preschools that thousands of Jewish children attend daily.

In response to these threats, leadership of the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, a coalition of 34 American religious denominations and organizations committed to upholding the American tradition of religious pluralism by confronting anti-Muslim bigotry, released the following statements:

Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director of the Islamic Society of North America’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, said: “The Qur’an (22:40) commands us to protect all places of worship of different faiths and recognize their sanctity like our own mosques. We strongly condemn the threats of terror against places of worship belonging to our Jewish neighbors and urge Muslim community to show full solidarity, support and compassion with our Jewish brothers and sisters. We urge the government to to investigate thoroughly miscreants responsible for these threats and bring them to justice and assure us all of full safety and security.”

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, said: “On behalf of my brother bishops, I would like to reiterate the church’s unequivocal rejection of egregious acts that threaten the safety and security of our Jewish brothers and sisters. As Pope Francis remarked in his 2014 meeting with faith leaders in Albania, ‘(w)e cannot deny that intolerance towards those with different religious convictions is a particularly insidious enemy.” The entire Catholic community echoes the words of the Holy Father and declares that such behavior is simply unacceptable.”

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said: “We join in standing shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish neighbors, precious children of God. We are committed to the safety and security of the Jewish people, and ‘recognize in anti-Semitism a contradiction and an affront to the Gospel, a violation of our hope and calling’ as Christians (1994 Declaration of ELCA to Jewish Community). We will continue to oppose religious bigotry whenever and wherever it exists, and build up religious understanding as we seek to love our neighbor.”

Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign Director Catherine Orsborn added that, “An attack such as this on any religious community is an affront to the many faith communities that call America home; indeed, it is an attack on our nation’s ideal of religious pluralism and liberty. No one in our nation should live in fear of attack for how or where they pray, and we must all stand up with and for one another when communities are under threat. We stand with the Jewish community in light of these egregious threats, and we stand with our Muslim neighbors who have also been the targets of hateful attacks and threats over the past many months. It’s on all of us to uphold our nation’s stated commitment to liberty, dignity and equality for all people.”

###

Shoulder to Shoulder is a coalition of 34 religious denominations and organizations committed to ending anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. Founded in November 2010, Shoulder to Shoulder works not only on a national and denominational level, but offers strategies and support to local and regional efforts to address anti-Muslim sentiment.