The Muslim Coalition of Connecticut unequivocally condemns three acts of unthinkable violence that unfolded in recent days. We grieve with the families of victims and pray that the perpetrators will face immediate and full accountability. Two of these acts have been classified as federal hate crimes, and the other has been denounced by the United Nations Security Council.
On May 15, in Laguna Woods, California, a lone shooter killed one congregant at Geneva Presbyterian Church and wounded five worshippers, four of whom are in critical condition. A group of retired Taiwanese seniors were attending a lunch reception to honor a former pastor. Their heroic actions averted an even worse situation. A man of Chinese ancestry is in custody. Allegedly, he was upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan. The FBI has designated this tragedy as a federal hate crime as well as domestic terrorism.
No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our deepest condolences go to the victims and their families.
On May 14, in Buffalo, New York, a lone shooter entered the Tops Friendly Market and killed ten people, wounding three. Eleven of the victims were African American. This racist and extremist attack on shoppers going about their daily lives has been designated a federal hate crime as well as domestic terrorism. The perpetrator, who is in custody, is a white supremacist who livestreamed his attack upon entering the market.
This senseless, horrific shooting is antithetical to the diverse fabric of this nation and to everything we, as Americans, stand for. No one should have to fear that they might be murdered going about a normal and necessary activity such as grocery-shopping. We offer our sincerest condolences to the victims and their families, to the residents of the city of Buffalo, and especially to the African American community. We pray for an end to racism and call upon all to join anti-racism efforts in their own community.
On May 11, Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American icon of journalistic reporting across the Arab world, was shot dead during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin while clearly identified as a member of the press. She had covered the Mideast conflict for more than 25 years as an on-air correspondent for Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language channel. There followed an outpouring of grief across the Arab world. Her killing sparked international condemnation and wide-spread calls for accountability. Shireen Abu Akleh was a woman delivering the news to Arabic-speaking audiences worldwide. She was and will continue to be an inspiration to so many aspiring journalists, particularly young women.
In essence, Shireen Abu Akleh was killed doing her job. Unthinkable tragedy ended the life of this brilliant, brave, and dedicated woman. We send our most heartfelt condolences to her family and her community.
The Muslim Coalition of Connecticut denounces – in the strongest of terms – these acts of violence. Hate has no safe harbor. We must all act to counter those who would destroy the lives of innocent people throughout the world.