As we watch with horror and sadness the violence suffered by the Muslim community of Christchurch, New Zealand, The Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC) of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond expresses its heartfelt sympathy to our Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as our solidarity and commitment to fighting the evil hatred and bigotry that leads to such reprehensible acts. At least 49 innocent individuals lost their lives, not to mention the scores of family and friends who will be forever scarred by the attacks. At this time the investigations of the attacks are still incomplete, and facts are still developing, but there is no doubt that the victims were targeted because of their Muslim faith.
We share the outrage, fear and condemnation of these villainous acts, and join with our faith and other partners in raising our voices against the perpetrators of this heinous act and in combating small-minded hatred that causes them to launch such attacks. They are an affront to, and the antithesis of, the civilized people of all faiths, races, nationalities, backgrounds and sexual orientation who work together trying to build bridges and tear down the walls between us. As the festival of Passover approaches, we should recall the exhortation of Exodus 23:9:
You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)
And again, we extend our deepest sympathies to the Muslim community, and to the families and friends of those slain as they worshiped in Christchurch, New Zealand.