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Call for Justice in Queens Killing

Dear Friends,

Religious leader Imam Maulama Akonjee and his associate, Thara Uddin, prayed together at the Al-Furqan Jame Mosque in Queens before walking outside into the sunlight. Minutes later, they were executed, leaving a community, and a nation, in fear, anger and mourning.

We can’t begin to imagine how a person becomes a cold-blooded killer, possessed by such hatred that they are brazen enough to execute people on a summer afternoon. We may never understand the real motive, but we know the heart-wrenching impact that the deaths of these two men is having on our community.

Not only were they abruptly taken from their families, neighbors and the Al-Furqan Jame Mosque, but the horrific crime is fueling anxiety in Queens and across the nation. Everywhere you look, people are on edge because of rhetoric in the media, hate crimes and acts of terrorism (perpetrated by individuals of varied religions and beliefs). The result is mistrust and division.

This is where we all need to step in, to stand together and not allow fear to break our neighborhoods apart. As a unified group of individuals from different religious and belief traditions, cultures and ethnicities, our call for justice is louder than the fear. It’s time to stand tall and be loud!

In solidarity,

Joyce S. Dubensky               Mark E. Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum                  Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum

Tanenbaum’s Top Five New Stories

Popes headed toward sainthood • Transgendered minister opens up about his experiences • Jimmy Carter speaks out against the abuse of women • Faith healing parents’ homicide conviction upheld • Muslims & Jews gather in Sarjevo to combat religious prejudice

Last week's top stories from Tanenbaum's perspective: 

Popes headed toward sainthood
The Washington Post
Last week, good news rained upon popes named John. Pope Francis approved John Paul II for sainthood and decided to canonize John XXIII. According to the article, “Francis approved a decree that a Costa Rican woman’s inexplicable cure from a deadly brain aneurism was the ‘miracle’ needed to canonize John Paul.” Pope Francis also deemed that only one miracle attributed to John XXIII’s intercession was sufficient for his canonization. Read more…

Transgendered minister opens up about his experiencesThe Huffington Post
What if one Sunday, you attended a service at your church and your minister – after 28 years of service – decided to reveal that he was born a female? For Rev. David Weekly, a United Methodist minister, “There was a lot of support, but a lot of push back.” Learn more…

Jimmy Carter speaks out against the abuse of womenReligion News Service
At “Mobilizing Faith for Women: Engaging the Power of Religion and Belief to Advance Human Rights and Dignity,” President Jimmy Carter opened his remarks by calling the abuses of women “the most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violations on earth.” Discover more about Carter’s thoughts on the intersection of religion and women’s rights.

Faith healing parents’ homicide conviction upheldNational Public Radio
Did you know that 303 children have died since 1975 after medical care was withheld on religious grounds? In 2008, one 11-year-old diabetic girl died on Easter Sunday because her parents refused to bring her to the doctor. The parents preferred prayer and were convicted of homicide one year later. Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 6-1 “that the state's immunity provisions for prayer treatment parents protect them from child abuse charges but nothing else.”  After the decision was announced, the father’s lawyer said, “"If I was advising a parent on faith healing, I'd say there is no privilege," Miller said. "They pretty much gutted it." Read more…

Muslims & Jews gather in Sarjevo to combat religious prejudiceThe Huffington Post
A group of Muslims and Jews gathered in Sarajevo to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The goal of the conference, organized by The Muslim Jewish Conference in Vienna, “"is to provide the next generation with a learning experience for life and a positive outlook for establishing intercultural relations and sustaining Muslim-Jewish partnerships." Learn more…