Several groups have decried the mass killing at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council
The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) is shocked and outraged by the horrendous act of terror committed inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday. The attacker, who was apprehended by law enforcement, killed at least eleven people and injured six others during Shabbat morning prayer services.
“To murder innocent people during a prayer service is a crime beyond imagination,” said MJAC Co-Chair Farooq Kathwari. “As we mourn the victims, we must redouble our efforts to eradicate anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred and bigotry that could lead someone to commit such a heinous act. Confronting the recent rise in hate crimes has been the primary focus for our Council’s activities, and clearly there is still much work to do.”
The assailant has been charged with two counts of hate crimes by federal prosecutors due to reported activity on social media and statements during the murderous act in which he expressed his intention to kill Jews. A synagogue located in the historically Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood, Tree of Life had been participating in a national initiative to raise awareness about refugees during Shabbat services. The program, organized by HIAS, appears to have been among the shooter’s motivations for attacking the Jewish worshippers. The shooter reposted remarks that called both Jews and Muslims evil and railed against Jews helping Muslims enter the United States, an apparent reference to the refugee shabbat event.
The American Jewish Committee
AJC is totally appalled by the horrific shooting attack inside a Pittsburgh synagogue during Shabbat morning services today.
At least eleven people were killed and six wounded in the assault at Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation. The shooter was apprehended by law enforcement.
“The sanctity of the Sabbath was shattered today, a solemn reminder that we Jews, even in the U.S., must be constantly vigilant,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “We mourn with the families of the victims, pray for the full and speedy recovery of the wounded, and stand in solidarity with the entire Pittsburgh Jewish community.”
The assailant reportedly had expressed on social media his rage against National Refugee Shabbat, a HIAS event of which AJC is a cosponsor, only hours before he arrived at the synagogue and yelled his intention to kill Jews during the attack. Incidents targeting Jews constitute the majority of religiously-based hate crimes in the U.S., according to the FBI, even as Jews constitute no more than two percent of the American population.
The Anti-Defamation League
ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt released the following statement in response to the horrific and fatal anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh today.
“Our hearts break for the families of those killed and injured at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and for the entire Jewish community of Pittsburgh. This is likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States. We are actively engaged with law enforcement to support their investigation and call on authorities to investigate this as a hate crime.
It is simply unconscionable for Jews to be targeted during worship on a Sabbath morning, and unthinkable that it would happen in the United States of America in this day and age. Unfortunately, this violent attack – the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the United States since 2014 – occurs at time when ADL has reported a historic increase in both anti-Semitic incidents and anti-Semitic online harassment. As we mourn those lost and search for answers, ADL will remain steadfast in its mission to fight anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it may occur.”