Monday, 10 August 2020

guide star guide star gold facebook twitter youtube instagram subscribe

N News

Letter from a Rabbinical Student on the Ft. Pierce Mosque Arson

By David N. Goodman, For , On 26 September 2016, Read Original
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Wilfredo Ruiz, communications director, Council on American Islamic Relations of Florida

Dear Wilfredo,
 
As a rabbinical student, it hurt me greatly to learn of the arson attack on the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, and more so to read that a fellow Jew had been arrested as a suspect. This violent act against a faith community would have been shameful, regardless of who carried it out. But the identity of the suspected perpetrator brings me an extra dose of pain.
 
So as a gesture of protest against this sacrilege, I have made a small personal donation to the mosque. I hope others are able to take similar steps, and that we can channel hate into love and religious prejudice into acceptance and harmony.
 
To the members of the worship community at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, I want to express my regret at what happened to you and my anger at those responsible. You should know that thousands of American Jews share my revulsion at this and other acts of anti-Muslim bigotry in our shared homeland. The fight against Islamophobia is the biggest moral test of religious tolerance facing our nation at this time. I hope and pray that my fellow Jews join Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Humanists and all Americans in rising to meet this moral challenge.
 
The suspect in this mosque attack posted a statement on Facebook saying that "all Islam is radical." Aside from being an ugly slur, this message and others like it have consequences and trigger hateful acts like this one. I say this to those leaders who trumpet this idea: Your words have born fruit, and you share in the responsibility for attacks like the one on a Florida house of worship on the eve of the Eid Al-Adha holiday.
 
May the Source of Mercy, the maker of us all, help us to recognize our shared humanity and to act on God's commandment: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Leviticus 19:17).
 

David N. Goodman

student, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Wyncote, Pennsylvania