WASHINGTON – Earlier this week, three alleged white supremacists were arrested by the FBI after plotting to attack synagogues and black churches in Virginia. Interfaith Alliance has frequently called on the FBI and the Department of Justice to ensure that the focus of their Countering Violent Extremism program addresses the full threat of the violent extremism in the U.S., a threat illustrated by this recent arrest. Following the announcement of this arrest, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance and longtime religious leader in Virginia, released this statement:
“I stand with today with the religious communities of Virginia, shaken by the discovery of this horrendous plot. I cannot help but think that the Alexandria synagogue I served for nearly thirty years, or the Richmond synagogue my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter attend, could have been targeted by these forces of hate and violence. And I stand today with my interfaith allies in black churches, knowing that our bonds are made stronger in the face of this terrorist threat.
“Too often we are told that violent extremism in America has only one face and only one name. We see the White House convene summits on the issue that discuss only radicalization in the Muslim community, the FBI designs initiatives that target only the Muslim community – and we loose sight of the broader picture of terrorism in America. There is a strain of racist, antisemitic and anti-Muslim, extremism in this country that is better armed and better organized than any of us like to admit. We will not be truly safe unless we face this terrorist threat head on. I am heartened by the fact that this plot was discovered by the FBI, and I pray that it is representative of a broader commitment to address the radicalization and militarization of white supremacists.
“We must reaffirm our commitment today to religious tolerance and religious freedom. We must teach tolerance in our homes, houses of worship and communities, so that fewer and fewer Americans will be drawn toward this type of violence. And we must advocate for religious freedom to our law enforcement and political leaders. There is no freedom to worship if we cannot gather without fear. There is no freedom from discrimination if law enforcement unjustly targets one faith community. Interfaith Alliance has always believed that we can find unity and strength through our religious differences – sometimes that unity is forced upon us by the plans of terrorists, sometimes we must that build that unity through understanding and advocacy.”
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 www.interfaithalliance.org.