With a heavy heart, Tanenbaum condemns the violence that erupted yesterday morning at the Tree of Life Synagogue near Pittsburgh. At least eleven are dead. Families irrevocably shattered. At least six injured. And a shooter who was reportedly making anti-Semitic comments as this slaughter unfolded.
The scale and gravity of this attack, coming only a week after bomb threats, scares all of us—as Americans and as individuals from a variety of minority religious tradition in our diverse country. This shooting is part of a larger pattern in which people are being targeted for their beliefs—religious and also social and political.
Bigotry and violence have no place in America. The discourse that divides, dehumanizes and demeans civility lays the groundwork for violence. That is why we must all stand shoulder to shoulder with those who exercise their sacred right to pray together, to practice their faith, to peacefully assemble, and to advocate for their beliefs.
Tanenbaum strongly urges all communities and groups to reject the violence of hate and the discourse that breeds it. This includes the anti-Semitism so horrifically visible at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Our hearts are with all those who lost loved ones and were injured. Our commitment is to you and to our national values.
We stand—always—for a world that respects and protects our differences—including our different ways of believing.
Image: Vector Illustration
Did you know that anonymous hate-mongers are urging people to “celebrate” tomorrow, April 3rd, as “Punish a Muslim Day”? And that they’ve created a game to encourage and reward acts of violence? I’m horrified. We should all be. And that’s why Tanenbaum is issuing a statement condemning this act of hate.
We should also be equally horrified to hear about the French Jew, Mireille Knoll—an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor stabbed 11 times in her apartment just over a week ago before it was set on fire.
These are just two terrifying examples of what hate looks like in 2018. Sadly, they are part of a larger trend. Religiously motivated hate crimes have been on the rise over the past couple of years—worldwide.
It’s time for elected officials and everyday citizens alike to responsibly stop violence and use their influence to make sure it happens.
With a heavy heart,
P.S. Click here for our statement condemning “Punish a Muslim Day”.
P.S.S. Click here for more information on Mireille Knoll’s murder.
P.S.S.S. Click here for information on hate crimes in the U.S.
Photo: Inspired by “Brexit”, safety pins are being worn to show solidarity against hate. | Brilliantist Studio via Shutterstock
This month, I’ve heard from so many of you from across the religious spectrum. Your reactions to the election, the holiday season and the future are not uniform. But most of you are concerned about societal division, rising hate crimes and the fear captured by a Muslim friend, who wrote, “I will never, ever, ever forget the night my babies went to sleep crying in fear.”
Please take a look at my latest article on The Huffington Post, Five Reflections on America in Transition. It includes some thoughts on what I’ve heard, my observations on how Americans are responding—and how we can respond—to mitigate fear, cross the divide, and rekindle hope.
At Tanenbaum we know that establishing a just society is a long-term effort – but we take daily action to create measurable improvements in the U.S. and across the world.
Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday – please donate to Tanenbaum because our nation needs Tanenbaum more than ever.
No child should ever fall asleep crying from fear, in the U.S. or anywhere!
Joyce S. Dubensky,
P.S. For a glimpse of some of our latest achievements, check out our Fall Newsletter.
P.P.S. And on Wednesday, look for November’s Combating Extremism resources on what you had to say about extremism!
Religions asking if test-tube burgers allow them to keep the faith • Indonesian president worried by growing religious intolerance • Lutherans elect Elizabeth Eaton first female presiding bishop of ELCA • Hindu groups in US protest religious discrimination in Pakistan • Man held after Buddhists use Malaysia Muslim prayer room
Last week's top stories, from our perspective:
Religions asking if test-tube burgers allow them to keep the faith
A biologist from Maastricht University presented meet grown in-vitro from the stem cells of a cow. Is it possible that religious authorities will give this new food their approval? If so, what does this mean for halal and kosher meats? Abdul Qahir Qamar of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Saudi Arabia has said that as long as the cells are not banned under the halal laws, in-vitro meat "will not be considered meat from live animals, but will be cultured meat."
Indonesian president worried by growing religious intolerance
According to Human Rights Watch, more than 260 violent incidents occured against religious minorities in Indonesia. The country's president, Susilo Bamban Yudhoyono, has said that he is working to curtail corruption but others in the country say otherwise.
Lutherans elect Elizabeth Eaton first female presiding bishop of ELCA
Rev. Elizabeth Eaton is the first female presiding biship of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is the United States' largest Lutheran body — with more than 4 million members in 9,638 congregrations.
Hindu groups in US protest religious discrimination in Pakistan
A group of US-based Hindu organizations gathered in Manhattan near Pakistan's consulate to voice concern against religious discrimination of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and others in Pakistan. Narain Kataria, organizer of the rally said "This is nothing but religious apartheid for the entire world to see. Almost all the Hindus and Sikhs have been religiously cleansed from Pakistan with the blessings of the government."
Man held after Buddhists use Malaysia Muslim prayer room
RA resort owner in Malyasia faces up to two years in jail for allowing a Buddhist to use the resort's Muslim prayer room because no other hall was available. The owner is now being investigated for "defliing a place of worship with intent to insult the religion."