Readers Write: A statement of solidarity with the black community

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We, Shaykh Ibad Wali of the Hillside Islamic Center, Rabbi Meir Feldman of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck and Rev. Patrick Duggan of the Congregational Church of South Hempstead, stand in solidarity yet again.

Just as we have stood together at moments of violence and injustice against the Muslim and Jewish communities, today we stand together against the brutality and senseless deaths caused by police officers against Black brothers and sisters.

Like so many others, we are outraged and horrified by the latest spate of deaths of African Americans, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
We add our voices to those of black leaders across the United States of America who seek answers and justice, both of which are necessary for God’s peace and love to transform our communities and our nation.

We seek not only justice in the tragic loss of these lives, but positive structural change that will give hope and faith to Americans of every color, race, ethnicity and religion.

While we recognize the humanity, heroism and courage of the vast majority of our law enforcement men and women, we demand a renewed commitment by all law enforcement to prioritize the safety of all human beings equally. The color of one’s skin may never be a lawful basis for police conduct.
We acknowledge that all too often, to be Black in America is to suffer from the constant emotional, mental, spiritual and physical toll of racism.

Anti-black racism in Minneapolis, Louisville and other communities reveals a widespread reality of prejudice that threatens the very fabric of this country. It is not only visible in the realm of law enforcement but in levels of our government and even in our religious institutions.

Our mosques and synagogues (and other faith-based communities) have also failed our black brothers and sisters in humanity. Equality, fraternity and human dignity are at the foundation of our Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions.
We urge all Americans to raise their voices in purely peaceful, non-violent and non-provocative ways. We condemn, in the strongest of terms, violence and destruction as an expression of protest.

Such actions undermine and diminish God’s light and love in the world and only harm the cause of peace and blessing for all humankind.
The responsibility to ensure the safety of Black members of our country falls not only on the shoulders of every police department but on all of us. For this reason, we urge all religious leaders, elected officials and others of authority to listen to, hear and act upon the concerns of the Black community leaders immediately.
We know that as Muslims and Jews and Christians, it is our job to respond to oppression and advocate for the oppressed in real-time.

We are committing now to stand in solidarity and collaborate with Black leadership to seek justice for all and demand accountability from those responsible. We pray, hope and promise to advocate for structural change to ensure events like this never happen again, starting with our own communities and religious institutions.

Shaykh Ibad Wali of the Hillside Islamic Center, Rabbi Meir Feldman of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck and Reverend Patrick Duggan of the Congregational Church of South Hempstead

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