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 is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.