United Against Hate
The Center for Interreligious Understanding and the South Dallas Interfaith Council Unite Against Hatred and Terrorism
We are members of the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities working together to foster understanding, mutual respect, and appreciation of each of our faiths: We strongly condemn the actions of the individual who took hostages and threatened the lives of the rabbi and congregants at Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Our organizations are wholly committed to interfaith harmony, and as such, we unconditionally condemn any actions that single out any religious or ethnic group as a target of terrorism.
We know the leaders and congregants of this Synagogue welcome everyone with love, compassion, and open arms, regardless of their religious beliefs, race, gender, or political beliefs. It is unconscionable that anyone would take hostages in a place of worship, but particularly in one that is so welcoming to all people, and whose only intent is to unite humanity. The action of this perpetrator is greatly offensive to all people of faith.
Further, we refuse to let the actions of any terrorist derail the great progress we have made in building understanding and creating common determination to stand up against hate; we will instead redouble our dedication to continue our joint work in building great solidarity and leveraging the common good in our religions in creating a better world for all.
At the same time, we also oppose wholesale condemnation of the religious or ethnic group to which a terrorist belongs, since the true teachings of our religions, first and foremost, are teachings of peace and mutual respect. Any deviation from these objectives is a profound corruption and misinterpretation of our Scriptures and their message. To take the acts of often deranged individuals and groups as authentic representatives of their religions is a distorted and faulty generalization, utilized by groups that try to divide us and sow hatred. We will not let them succeed!
We are grateful that the law enforcement authorities were able to intervene effectively, saving the lives of our colleague Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and the members of his synagogue who were gathered together for prayer. We are thankful as well, that the officers who risked their lives were also unharmed.
As leaders in the faith community, we, and many other spiritual leaders, denounce such hostile actions as occurred at Colleyville, Texas:
Rabbi Jack Bemporad, Director, The Center for Interreligious Understanding, (The CIU), Teaneck, NJ
Imam Yahya Abdullah, Imam of the Masjid Mohammed (Mosque) in Jacksonville, FL
S. A. Ibrahim, Co-Chairman of the Board, The CIU, Teaneck, NJ
Anthony J. Cernera, Ph.D., President of the Board, The CIU, Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Ron Li-Paz, Valley Outreach Synagogue Center for Jewish Life, Calabasas, CA
Rabbi Eric Greenberg, The CIU, Teaneck, NJ
Marzuq Jaami, Member, South Dallas Interfaith Council, Dallas, TX
Dr. Tricia Harris, Member, South Dallas Interfaith Council, Dallas, TX
Robert Hunt, Ph.D., Director of Global Theological Education, The Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
The Very Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski, Dean Emeritus, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, NY
Mehnaz M. Afridi, Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center, Manhattan College, Bronx, NY
Dr. Karen Hollie, Member, South Dallas Interfaith Council, Dallas, TX
Mark W. Romney, Member, South Dallas Interfaith Council, Dallas, TX
David W. Patterson, Member, South Dallas Interfaith Council, Dallas, TX
Keith M. Earl, Member, South Dallas Interfaith Council, Dallas, TX
Bishop Mark Hernandez, National Director of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, Member, South Dallas Interfaith Council, Dallas, TX
John Jackson, Southwest Regional Bishop, Unification Church, Member, American Clergy Leadership Conference, Dallas, TX