Dear Friends,

We as the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County stand in solidarity with our Muslim siblings around the world after the horrendous white nationalist terrorist shooting in New Zealand on Friday afternoon. Please see and share these two statements from our partners at the Interfaith Peace Project, led by Father Thomas Bonacci and the San Francisco Interfaith Council, let by Rev. Michael Pappas.

Also see these Bay Area Vigils to be with the Muslim community and others.

Bay Area Solidarity Vigils:

Saturday, March 16:

Pacifica Institute Sunnyvale
1257 Tasman Dr. Unit A&B Sunnyvale CA 94087
Saturday, March 16, 2019 5:00 p.m.

Vigil for Christchurch Mosque Massacre @ 7:30PM by SJSU MSA and SJSU SJP
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, (4th St. and San Fernando St.) San Jose

Pacifica Institute vigil @ 8 PM at their Sunnyvale and East Bay locations: 
1257 Tasman Drive Sunnyvale CA
979 San Pablo Avenue Albany CA

Sunday, March 17: 

United in Grief: Remembering Victims of the New Zealand Attacks @ 3:30PM by MCC 
5724 W. Las Positas Blvd., Ste. 300, Pleasanton

Monday, March 18: 
Candlelight Vigil for Christchurch Victims @ 5:30PM
Multifaith Sanctuary – Santa Clara University

     The Interfaith Peace Project joins with the brokenhearted peoples of the World to express our sympathy and love to all our Muslim Sisters and Brothers. The horrific killings and violence against the Muslim community of New Zealand is a call to action on the part of the World community. We can no longer tolerate the self-righteous nationalism that compromises the value of another person’s life and well-being. We can no longer endure the politics of hate that excludes and compromises the dignity and humanity of other peoples because they are “different”. The blood of those slaughtered and injured in Christchurch, New Zealand, cries out for that justice that will eradicate hate from the face of the Earth.

     The violence experienced in New Zealand reverberates throughout the World. This was an attack on all people who would live in peace with a respect for others. Now is the time for religious institutions and leaders to examine their own teachings and hearts seeking an end to violence in all its forms. Long before weapons kill and injure people, the violence of our thoughts and words compromises the safety and security of others.         National and World leaders of every kind must provide the example and the policies by which we live on Earth as a Family of peoples in a neighborhood of Nations. The idea that each Nation must only be concerned with its own progress is not only foolish but dangerous. Policies that favor one Nation against another make no sense in a global World.         The violence that struck the people of Islam, the terror that broke the heart of New Zealand, remind us that we must live in this World as one human family. We are all responsible for one another.         

Dedicate yourself today to reach out to our Muslim Neighbors to not only express your sympathy and outrage but to pledge to stand in solidarity with them each and every day. In the aftermath of the killings in Pittsburgh, the community coined a mantra to live by: “We are stronger than hate.”         

As our hearts continue to break, we call upon all of you to respond with a love that is stronger than hate, with a care for others that is stronger than hate, with a justice that is stronger than hate, with a conviction that is stronger than hate.            

Let us call to mind the words of the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, as she sought to comfort her grieving Nation: 

“What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.”

They are us!” Sometimes in the darkest moment the light does shine. The next time your meet someone you think does not belong recite the mantra, “They are us!”

Peacefully, Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P. withThe Board of Directors and all of us at The Interfaith Peace Project

SF Bay Area Religious Leaders Stand in Solidarityin Condemnation of Horrific Terrorist Attackson Two New Zealand Mosques

As people of faith, we stand in solidarity with the Muslim community in New Zealand, with all our Kiwi friends and with all our Muslim sisters and brothers around the world in this time of mourning. The violence unleashed in Christchurch strikes at the heart of our faith commitments and our humanity. At this time, we recall the verse in the Qur’an that states, “Give glad tidings to the patient, to those who, when calamity strikes, Say: ‘We belong to God, and to Him we shall return.’ Upon them descend blessings from God and mercy.” We pledge not only our prayers but our active support to the families of the victims and to their community in whatever way we can be of help. 

This was not an isolated incident. We remember those killed at the Pittsburgh synagogue and at the Charleston African-American church attacks, like this one, driven by religious, racial, and ethnic hatred that is unacceptable in any community. We say “No!” not only to violence but to the hatred and bigotry that foster such violence. No one should fear for their safety at their house of worship. No one should fear violence, or hatred, or disrespect on account of their religious, racial, or ethnic identity. 

These incidents do not happen in a vacuum. They are the fruit of attitudes of intolerance and prejudice that are deeply rooted in society, attitudes that have been fostered over the last several years by elected officials and other people of influence. In particular, we must call attention to, and speak out against, political efforts to exploit social division and sow fear. Policies like separating families through the Muslim travel ban, taking children from their families at the US border, or dehumanizing refugees all feed the hate that erupts into violence and into less visible but also deeply hurtful acts of dehumanization and bigotry. We need to call on our elected officials to commit themselves to oppose hate speech and hate violence in every form and to reject policies that spring from it and feed it. 

At this moment of horror and grief, we must also call on our sisters and brothers in our religious communities and on all our fellow citizens to demonstrate acts of solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers, and we must pledge ourselves not only to speak out but also to educate about and foster encounters among the diverse people that make up our countries and our world, so that we may root out the seeds of hatred and xenophobia that give rise to such horrors as we have just experienced. May this event spur us on to ever greater efforts to promote human solidarity.

Kaushik Roy, Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Commissioner Hala Hijazi, Human Rights Commission, CCSF, and San Francisco Interfaith Council Board Member
Fatih Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute/BAYCC and SF Interfaith Council Board Member
Rita Semel, Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Michael G. Pappas, M.Div., Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council

Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, Resident Imam, San Francisco Muslim Community Center
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus Eighth Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of California
Fr. Mesrop Ash, Parish Priest, St. John Armenian Church
Rev. Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P., The Interfaith Peace Project
J. Thomas Briody, President & Chief Executive Officer, Institute on Aging
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Pastor, Third Baptist Church & President, SF Branch NAACP
Rev. Gerald P. Caprio, Executive Director, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Bishop Minerva G. Carcano, San Francisco Area, The United Methodist Church
Michelle Myles Chambers, Manager of FAITHS Program, The San Francisco Foundation
Rev. Calvin Chinn, Transitional Pastor and Head of Staff, Calvary Presbyterian Church
Terence J. Clark, President,  Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
The Rev. Canon Dr. Ellen Clark-King, Executive Pastor/Canon for Social Justice,   Grace Cathedral
Rabbi Mychal Copeland, Congregation Sha’ar ZahavMost
Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco
Rev. Staci Current, Bay District Superintendent, CA-NV Conference, United Methodist Church
Rev. Elaine Donlin, Buddhist Church of San Francisco
Rabbi Serena Eisenberg, President, No. California Board of Rabbis and AJC No. CA Director
Rev. Elizabeth Ekdale, Lead Pastor, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
Maha Elgenaidi, Executive Director, Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Fred Fielding, Global Council Trustee – North America, United Religions Initiative
Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco
Rev. Victor H. Floyd, Minister of Spiritual Care, Calvary Presbyterian Church
Rev. Norman Fong, Executive Director, Chinatown CDC and Presbyterian Minister
Rabbi Pam Frydman, Congregation B’nai Emunah
Andrew Galvan, The Ohlone Indian Tribe
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel
Rev. Jisan Tova Green, San Francisco Zen CenterAaron Grizzell, Executive Director, The No. California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Community Foundation
Iftekhar Hai, President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
Ryushin Paul Haller, Senior Dharma Teacher, San Francisco Zen Center
Rev. Steve Harms, Senior Pastor, Peace Lutheran Church, Danville, CA
Rev. Kamal Hassan, M.Div.,  Minister of Word and Sacrament,  Sojourner Truth Presbyterian  Church, Richmond, CA
Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod, ELCA
Matt Kahn, AJC San Francisco Director
Easan Katir, California Advocacy Director, Hindu American Foundation
The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr., United Religions Initiative
Father Stephen Kyriacou, Dean, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Rev. Joann H. Lee, Associate Pastor, Calvary Presbyterian Church
Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, President, Graduate Theological Union
Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
Jilma Meneses, JD, Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Charities
Abby Michelson Porth, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
Rodger Powers, Interfaith San Ramon Valley and St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church 
Rev. Scott Quinn, Executive Director, Marin Interfaith Council
The Reverend Robert K. Rien, Pastor,  St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Community, Antioch, CA
Rev. Joanna Shenk, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco
Rabbi Beth Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
Abby Snay, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Vocational Service
Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Society of SF
Sameena Usman, Government Relations Coordinator, San Francisco Bay Area Office,   Council on American-Islamic Relations
Rev. Quentisha Davis Wiles, Senior Pastor, Pittsburg United Methodist Church
Shari P. Wooldridge, Executive Director and the Board of Directors, The Society of St. Vincent  de Paul San Francisco
The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, Dean, Grace Cathedral
Jenifer Zetlan,  Interfaith Director,  Beth Chaim Congregation,  Danville CA
Rev.  Tenzen  David Zimmerman,  Abiding Abbot, San Francisco Zen Center / City Center
Rev. Dr. Fred Weidmann, Senior Minister, Hillcrest Congregational Church UCC, Pleasant Hill
Mohammad Chaudhry, President, Islamic Center of East Bay, Antioch
Rev Paulson Mundanmani, Pastor Christ the King, Pleasant Hill
Rev. Kathryn Schreiber, MinisterFirst Congregational Church of Martinez, UCC
NCIC: Northern California Islamic Council
Rev. Bekah Davis, Pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Pleasant Hill