FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2014
CONTACT: Samantha Friedman, West End Strategy Team
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Interfaith Leaders Condemn Fatal Anti-Semitic Shooting in Kansas
In response to the fatal shooting outside a Jewish Community Center and retirement community in Overland Park, Kansas on Sunday, Christina Warner, Campaign Director for Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Upholding American Values, released the following statement as the Passover holiday began:
“As our Jewish partners and friends gather together at the seder table this evening and begin Passover celebrations, we know hearts are heavy after Sunday’s shooting at a Jewish Community Center and retirement community in Overland Park, Kansas. Three individuals died as a known white supremacist and anti-Semite targeted members of the Jewish community. Highlighting his blind hate, his victims were each members of area churches.
This coalition of national and local religious leaders exists so that diverse faith traditions might come together to realize that vision of the United States in which no person should fear expressing his or her belief publicly, whether that individual be Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Christian, or ascribe to any other faith tradition. Certainly, no person should fear losing his or her life because of their perceived religious beliefs. Our rich diversity is the life-blood of our creativity, our progress, and our future. White supremacy fails to see this promise, and maintains an abominable legacy of racism that has existed too long in our country.
Today, we again stand together to call on leaders from all sectors – religious and non-religious – to acknowledge that such hate exists and to commit to fostering diverse public efforts that prize our diversity. We must denounce religious hatred wherever we see it. By standing together against violence and learning to thrive in diversity, we strengthen our communities against supremacist and terrorist ideologies that tell the lie that all must believe a certain way, or be of a certain bloodline. As faith leaders, we must be committed to a future in which extremism is an artifact of the past, and where religious identity is not the cause of hostility, but of acceptance.”
Shoulder-to-Shoulder is a national coalition of denominations and faith groups that was founded after these organizations stood in solidarity on September 7, 2010, to speak out against the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment leading up to the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and the planned burning of the Qur’an in Florida. Shoulder-to-Shoulder supports faith communities in challenging anti-Muslim sentiment by promoting peace and mutual understanding.
Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Upholding American Values (www.shouldertoshouldercampaign.org) is a national campaign of religious, interfaith and faith-based organizations dedicated to ending anti-Mulsim sentiment. Founded in November 2010 by more than 20 national religious groups, Shoulder-to-Shoulder works locally, nationally, and internationally to offer strategies for and support to efforts to address anti-Muslim sentiment.