Thank you Father Tom Bonacci and the Interfaith Peace Project for this statement.
STANDING TOGETHER AGAINST HATE
On December 28, 2019, a day on which the Christian Community observes the “slaughtering of the Holy Innocents,” a man with a history of mental illness viciously attacked people gathered inside the home of a Rabbi observing the Seventh Night of Hanukkah.
Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg and members of his Hasidic Community in Monsey, NY, fought back against the intruder who intended to attack the Synagogue next door. Several in the Community called the quick action a “Hanukkah miracle” since the attack could have been far worse than it was. Nonetheless, the attack was horrific. We need only remember the massacre that resulted in the murder of eleven people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA on October 27, 2018.
We, at The Interfaith Peace Project, hope this is the beginning of a “Hanukkah miracle” since we are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of the Jewish Community. The rise of attacks on the Jewish Community during the past year and over the Holiday Season is more than alarming. Elected Jewish Officials in New York are calling on the Governor to declare a state of emergency. Sadly, they wrote:
Simply stated, it is no longer safe to be identifiably Orthodox in the State of New York. We cannot shop, walk down the street, send our children to school, or even worship in peace.
The psychological difficulties of the attacker do not mitigate the seriousness of this incident. The Jewish Community in Monsey, New York, has suffered threats for simply moving into the local community. The rise in anti-Semitism reflects the loss of memory concerning the Holocaust. We wonder how much time and effort is spent in religious education programs sensitizing students to the horrors of religiously motivated hate. We must confront the irresponsible rhetoric often found in the content of our Social Media. We must continue to challenge the fear and hatred we might harbor in our hearts against anyone. Finally, we must have the courage and willingness of heart to stand with one another in times of trouble.
The Interfaith Peace Project continues to call for a reconsideration of any prayer, belief, or ideology that considers people of faiths other than our own as inferior. The way we worship and gather as a people of faith must reflect our willingness to honor the dignity of all people without prejudice to their faith and beliefs.
We learned in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh massacre, “We are Stronger than Hate!” Today and always, we stand together with the Jewish Community. We will continue to light the candles of hope and peace. We pledge to do everything in our power to ensure that our practice of spirituality honors the dignity and well-being of all. With the worldwide Jewish community, we exclaim, “Never again!”
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P., with the Board of Directors of The Interfaith Peace Project
From the Islamic Center of the East Bay, Antioch
Mohamad Chaudhry, President of the Islamic Center of the East Bay in Antioch and member of the Elected Council of ICCCC wrote this:
Dear Jessica Sterling and All,
The Islamic Center of East Bay, strongly condemns the recent attack on a Hanukkah party in New York, and all other attacks carried out in the recent past with a well designed pattern. From Monday to Tuesday, how alarming and sad, the Jewish Communities faced three attacks, just within a period of 24 hours.
Along with Jews, other Faith Communities are also under attack. A Church in Texas came under attack from a shooter; another Catholic Church got vandalized first, and Then was burnt. Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, name a Faith Community, or the African Americans who are not under the assault of bigots and racists.
The New York Governor, is right in classifying this latest attack on the Jews as a case of Domestic Terrorism. If people are not safe in the places of prayers, then where would they be safe!
We, the Muslims here at the Center, and everywhere, pray that may God keep all the people of America safe. We also stand in complete solidarity with the Jews and all other brothers who are impacted by bigotry and racism. It has to be stopped.
From the Islamic Center of Walnut Creek
Dear Jessica Sterling and All,
I wish you a happy new year.
On behalf of the Islamic Center of Walnut Creek, I would like to condemn in the strongest terms the recent attacks against the members of the Jewish Community. We consider such heinous attacks as an assault against all people of faith and humanity.
Dr. Amer Araim
From Fr. Robert Rein, Priest at St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Parish, Antioch, CA
Dear Rabbi Perlman, Rabbi Stein, Jessica Sterling, and all our Jewish Sisters and Brothers,
On behalf of the Catholic Community of St. Ignatius of Antioch, I want you to know that we stand in solidarity with you against any and all attacks on our Jewish Sisters and Brothers as well as all acts ofdiscrimination, racism, bigotry, and hatred against anyone. As Father Tom Bonacci, CP has reminded us repeatedly, “what happens to one of us, happens to all of us.” Our heart is broken that you continueto experience violence that shatters your sense of well-being, safety, and security, not only in the United States of America, but anywhere in the world. Please know that you are being held close in thought,prayer, and remembered in all of our services during this very frightening and challenging time. May reconciliation, healing and peace come to us all.
Father Robert Rien
Pastor, St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish, Antioch