The Islamic Society of Augusta (ISA) condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday (October 28, 2018). We join with all Muslims and other faith organizations across the country, noting that the heinous and cowardly attack is totally inconsistent with the tenets of our faiths. Islam’s holy book, The Qur’an, says (paraphrased) “If one murders an innocent person, it is as if he murdered all of mankind.” Indeed, American Muslims today feel as if they were attacked along with America’s Jews.
Our hearts are filled with grief and sympathy for the congregation of Tree of Life, especially the families of those killed or injured in the attack. We express our solidarity with the Jewish community during this time of shock and grief.
Our members with means are contributing to national Muslim organizations who are collecting donations to support the synagogue. Muslim representatives in Pittsburgh offered to assist the suffering congregation, whatever their needs.
Just as important as tending to short-term needs is finding a way to eliminate mass killings in the future. These tragedies are becoming a recurring phenomenon of our society. They happen with increasing frequency in schools, concerts, and other public places, but, most sinisterly, in places of worship. We recall vividly the similar attacks on a Sikh temple in Milwaukee in 2012, an African-American church in nearby Charleston in 2015 and a church in Sutherland Springs, TX in 2017.
Our national leaders are not taking seriously the need to curb religious intolerance and gun violence, so it falls upon individual citizens to do so. Americans must come together to restore civilized values to our society and embrace respect and understanding between all faiths and races. We must demand an end to political rhetoric that inflames bigotry and breeds violence, whether it is overt or by inference. We must not elect politicians who embrace extremists.
We pray that God will enable our efforts to engender the peace that we so desperately desire.