WASHINGTON – Following the terrorist attack in Nice, France, Interfaith Alliance president Rabbi Jack Moline released the following statement offering condolences to the people of France and condemnation of remarks made by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich that demonize Muslims:

“The horrifying terrorist attack in Nice is an incomprehensible act that makes us all feel vulnerable. When we feel vulnerable we are often inclined to make poor decisions, but doing so only serves the purpose of the perpetrators of this heinous act.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of France and all those who have been victimized by terror. We honor their memory by standing firm in our efforts to combat extremism, whatever its origin, without trampling on the rights of the Muslim community, or any other community.

“Unfortunately, there are some who are all too eager to use this moment to demonize the Muslim community. Newt Gingrich’s call to test ‘every person who is of a Muslim background,’ to determine whether he or she believes in Sharia is an affront to everything we stand for as Americans. It is a scare tactic aimed at radicalizing a segment of our population that has been wrongly taught to fear Muslims, which has become a competitive sport among extremist elements in right-wing American politics. I question whether anyone who makes such a proposal has even a basic understanding of the First Amendment.

“These are dangerous times that call for real leadership and a sophisticated understanding of the complex world we live in. Newt Gingrich has proven himself to be incapable of either.”

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 interfaithalliance.org.