(Washington, D.C. 10/28/18) – ICNA CSJ strongly condemns this horrific act of terrorism and extends its deepest condolences to the victims and their families and stands by the Jewish-American community during this horrific act of gun violence and anti-Semitism.
Yesterday, a 46-year-old white supremacist, Robert Bowers, who was reportedly armed with “AR-15 style” rifle stormed into the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA, during Sabbath and fired upon innocent men, women, and children attending religious services.
It is reported that at least 11 victims have died and more injured. The attack was a direct result of xenophobia. Bowers reportedly made anti-Semitic posts on a social media platform popular with far-right extremists — including one made shortly before the attack. He was upset at the synagogue’s participation in a program, through HIAS, to help bring refugees into the country. HIAS is a Maryland-based nonprofit group that helps refugees around the world find safety and freedom.
The xenophobic rhetoric in this country has gone too far and has created a hostile environment. There is increase in bigotry and hateful language in our society and unfortunately the President is not helping. Just days before the shooting, Trump referred to himself as a “nationalist”. This terrible tragedy is also indicative of gun violence in our country. We have a serious gun problem in this country and we must do more to control it. We hope lawmakers in this country come to realize this reality and take proper measures to protect the vulnerable.