FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MFP strongly condemns the threats yesterday that targeted Jewish community centers in Birmingham, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Paul, Tampa, Albuquerque, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, and Buffalo. We call upon the President and other leaders to speak out against the rising tide of anti-Semitism as well as that of Islamophobia. We stand in full support of the following statement of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association and we stand in partnership with them: “Disgusted to hear about the senseless act of desecration at the cemetery and bomb threat to Jewish centers across the country as well as in Edison We must fight acts of intolerance and hate.” Hassan Haider MFP spokesperson
On Monday, February 20, 2017 the St. Paul JCC was a victim of a bomb threat. Indeed this marks the 4th set of bomb threats directed towards JCCs across the country in the last several months. In addition, it was reported over the weekend that a University of Minnesota student was arrested for a hate crime directed towards a Jewish student on campus. This appears to be the 9th anti-Semitic act on campus since the start of the school year. As rabbis, we are angered by the atmosphere that has seemingly become part of the everyday life of our community–an atmosphere of disbelief, fear, anger and great concern. And we call upon all people of conscious to heed the words of the Book of Leviticus (19:16) –“Do not stand idly by your neighbor’s blood.”
Sadly, in this time of increasing hate, too often, the response we hear from our political leaders is silence. When asked about increasing acts of anti-Semitism inside America, our President has remained silent. When it comes to other communities, silence has turned to anger and rage directed against Muslims as a class and immigrants as a singular community. As Rabbis, we recognize that there is no political philosophy which fits Judaism. There is, however, a religious stance that fits our understanding of humanity. Each of us, created in the image of God is worthy of the dignity that inheres in us as a result. Demonizing Muslims or migrants, remaining silent on anti-Semitic acts directed towards our community is wrong and needs to change. As a people, we still remember the world responding in silence to reports of an unfolding tragedy in Europe during WWII. We cannot stand idly by. We seek alliances with all who are willing to restore a social compact based on civil liberties and civil rights.
We are reminded of the words of Victor Frankel in a Man’s Search for meaning who wrote that the salvation of humanity is achieved with love and with freedom:” Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.”
We stand by all of those who oppose silence and hate. We seek to partner with all religious and other communities who affirm our responsibility to protect the dignity of every person and who celebrate the diversity which we know to be America.
We condemn the damage to more than 100 headstones at a historic Jewish cemetery over the weekend in Missouri and urge law enforcement to investigate this crime vigorously.
Muslims for Peace, Inc.
P.O. Box 6262, Monroe, NJ 08831