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 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.