Washington, DC – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of Interfaith Alliance, issued the following statement today following an attack on the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.

“‘God, help us!’ I prayed as I read the headline: ‘Chemical irritant empties Islamic Society of Greater Dayton’s mosque,’” said Rev. Gaddy. “Has it come to this—an assault on innocent children? Scapegoating Muslims as well as denouncing them verbally and attacking them physically has become all too common in this post 9/11 world.”

This attack comes just days after the distribution of the film Obsession- Radical Islam’s War against the West, in Ohio newspapers. News reports state that two unidentified men sprayed chemicals into a room full of children and infants as their mothers gathered together for their Ramadan prayers. 

Rev Gaddy went on to say, “Did the distribution of an anti-Muslim film encourage the Islamaphobia that may have caused the attack? No one can say except the perpetrators, but the fear card is being played in the media, on the Internet and, now, in newspaper inserts across the United States.”

Ironically, this happened in the city that hosted the Dayton Peace Accords.  Those historic agreements ended the Bosnia-Herzegovina war, in an accord that stopped the rape and slaughter of predominantly Muslim civilians.  The Greater Dayton Interfaith Trialogue, formed after the 9/11 attacks, provided a discussion point for local Muslims, Jews and Christians to celebrate what could happen if people and their governments spoke up for peace, and for “others.”  It has held important meetings and workshops designed to bridge the gulf that separates the faith traditions.

Rev. Gaddy concluded by saying, “Interfaith Alliance calls on its members and friends, and all Americans who believe in religious freedom and all those who value religious liberty and equality to send a strong, unified message that we will not tolerate bias motivated violence of any kind.  We need to let the Muslim community of Dayton, and across America, know that we stand with them against terrorism and that we condemn this senseless act of violence and the propaganda that helped to fuel it.”

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.