Grieving with Jews & Christians Following More Hate Attacks

This past weekend, two more deadly attacks took place against people of faith in New York and Texas, shedding yet more light on the escalating pattern of hate crimes targeting religious communities.

During a private celebration of Hanukkah in a private home on Saturday evening, Jews in Monsey, NY were viciously attacked by a man with a knife. Five people were stabbed, and one remains in the hospital. While the motive remains unclear, the sanctity of a religious gathering was once again violated and human life disregarded. This continues the unacceptable pattern of over a dozen attacks on Jews in the greater New York / New Jersey area in recent weeks.

Then, less than 24 hours later, at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, TX, a gunman drew a shotgun and killed two parishioners during Sunday morning church services. The assailant was quickly shot by armed security volunteers and died.
While authorities continue to investigate the motives in this case as well, it is clear that more innocent people seeking refuge in a spiritual setting have lost their lives senselessly, leaving all communities grieving yet again.

The Islamic Center of Southern California stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our Abrahamic family in New York and Texas as they cope with the aftermath of these attacks. May God shower mercy upon all the deceased and their loved ones. May God envelop those communities with patience and mercy in this period of difficulty, and may God help us all to actively work for change.

As we come to the end of 2019, we grieve and reflect on all those lost and impacted by acts of violence against people of faith, within the United States and around the world.  

Recently, the president of the American Psychological Association said, “Psychological science has demonstrated that social contagion – the spread of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors from person to person and among larger groups – is real.”

Hand in hand with this brutal truth is the hard fact that words and speech matter in every possible way, for every single one of us. They have consequences. Words by political and religious leaders, and by news media and social media influencers alike have consequences. They can serve to uplift, but they can also serve to degrade and to drive negative emotions and anger. Ultimately, words create the deranged motivation that can lead to the worst kinds of violence.

All of us must stand together worship, to utter good words and to roll up our sleeves to do the work needed to make our communities of faith and our country safer, for everyone.

May God guide us all as we strive only in His cause.

In peace, 

Omar Ricci
| Islamic Center of Southern California 
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