Letter to the Editor

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HATE CRIMES: It’s time to speak against them

What do the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Mother Immanuel AME church in Charleston, and Christchurch mosque in New Zealand have in common?

In each, a white supremacist used a semi-automatic weapon to murder people in their house of worship.

The Tree of Life massacre, one year ago, was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. The following night, 30 faith leaders representing different religions attended a vigil at the synagogue. Mother Immanuel parishioners traveled from Charleston to comfort survivors. Muslim worshipers from the local Islamic Center stood in support. Pittsburgh residents posted numerous signs expressing love over hate.

After the mosque shooting in New Zealand killed 51 people, the Jewish community in Pittsburgh stood outside the Islamic Center with signs expressing support of their Muslim neighbors.

Wouldn’t it be great to express ecumenical love over hate before hateful violence occurs? Maybe that way white supremacists will realize mass murder won’t bring support for their cause.

On Oct. 15, 2019, the Morning Star Baptist Church, in Spokane, was littered with fliers from a neo-Nazi group calling for a race war, promoting terrorist attacks against Jews and people of color, and stating, “It’s OK to genocide sub-humans.”

The recent spike in violent hate crimes by white supremacists is cause for serious concern — mass shootings can occur anywhere. The Boundary County Human Rights Task Force stands in solidarity with the Morning Star congregation and with all who speak against hate. This is no time to remain silent.

Barbara Russell

Boundary County Human Rights Task Force

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