Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance executive director, Rabbi Jack Moline, condemned both a shooting that took place in Garland Texas yesterday and the event that seems to have provoked it.

“The events that transpired in Garland, Texas represent a tragic breakdown of our democratic values. The attempted shooting has no justification – not even the reprehensible event that seems to be its intended target. Violence as a response to insult is indefensible. The motives of the two gunmen killed at an anti-Islam event yesterday are still under investigation. However, regardless of their intent, we reject their use violence.

“The so-called ‘Muslim Art Exhibit’ where the shooting took place is an event deserving of criticism even absent yesterday’s violence. Pamela Geller, the exhibit’s sponsor, seeks to hide provocation behind the First Amendment. This competition, which rewarded disrespect with cash, may be legal, but it is certainly not worthy of the great tradition of free-speech advocacy in America. Unfortunately, this was not her organization’s first attempt to incite radical elements in society, and this time, sadly, it would appear some took the bait.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the security guard who was injured last night and with the community that was threatened. We pray as well for peace and compassion in the wake of this tragedy – just as violence is the wrong response to hate, more hate is the wrong response to violence.”

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.