Posted by Arab American Institute on October 29, 2018 in Blog

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry issued the following statement:

“We condemn the violence committed against worshippers during prayer services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, which left at least 11 people dead, multiple wounded, and a country devastated. Unfortunately, this blatant act of anti-Semitic hatred is not an isolated occurrence. Tangled and deep run the roots of racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism in this country. Despite substantial progress in the movement for civil rights and equality, we should not and will not yield, lest the darker chapters of our history resurge.

"We mourn with the victims’ families, the people of Pittsburgh, and the American Jewish community. We also mourn with the people of Kentucky after two of its Black residents were killed at a grocery store, shot minutes after the alleged assailant attempted to barge into a nearby predominately Black church. The targeting of the Tree of Life Synagogue and the attempted attack against the First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown, KY, are reminiscent of the tragic hate crime murders in Charleston in 2015 and Oak Creek in 2012.

"In cities and towns across the country we have seen a powerful display of strength and resilience in the wake of this unspeakable hatred. Here in Washington, however, the desperate need for moral leadership remains. The Trump Administration and some of our leaders in Congress have largely abdicated, and have at times abandoned, the attendant responsibilities of their office. Instead of quelling division, we have seen some of our elected leaders participate in the same rhetoric that in part stimulates hatred. Our officials must take a firm stance in denouncing bigotry and hate in all its forms.”