Interfaith Alliance and Muslims Advocates Call on Public Officials to Focus on Unity in Aftermath of Tragedy
We are deeply troubled by the anti-Muslim response by public officials to the Paris attacks. It is disturbing that public officials—including U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY)—would exploit the Paris tragedy to advance their own political agendas. At a time when we join the world to support the people of Paris, we are concerned that public officials like Rubio and King seek to divide instead of unite us.
In a Sunday interview with George Stephanopolous on ABC This Week, Senator Rubio compared Muslims to Nazis. Speaking on New York radio with John Catsimatidis also on Sunday, Representative King called for increased surveillance of American Muslim communities
All Americans want to be kept safe from acts of violence, whatever the source. But promoting the idea of a “clash of civilizations” and suggesting extremist violence is rooted within Islam only serves to further the agenda of violent extremists. It also sends a dangerous signal that our American Muslim neighbors are a threat, worsening the environment of anti-Muslim bigotry and hate crimes.
We call on our public officials to refrain from religious bigotry and focus instead on unity in the aftermath of the Paris tragedy. There are real consequences to creating an anti-Muslim climate. In Florida over the weekend, a Tampa Bay area mosque received a threatening voicemail that warned of a militia coming to fire bomb the mosque and shoot worshippers. Local and federal law enforcement are investigating the threat.
Now is a moment for all communities to come together in the spirit of our American ideals of freedom and justice, and not allow the Paris tragedy to divide us along faith lines.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.