Interfaith group deplores anti-Muslim violence
Applauding President Bush's recent denouncing of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab violence as "the worst of America," an interfaith coalition vowed Sept. 25 to counter such violence by encouraging respect for the nation's varied faiths.
"Our immediate concern ... is to restore the fabric of our community and renew the trust among the diverse persons living in this region," said Bishop Theodore Schneider of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at a news conference organized by the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.
The event was held at the Islamic Center - the same site where eight days earlier Bush said the anti-Muslim violence erupting across the country was "not the America I know."
As the number of reported attacks against Muslims, Arabs and Sikhs continues to rise along with suspicion that Islamic fundamentalists orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, members of the conference - comprised of Jains, Latter-day Saints, Sikhs, Jews, Muslims, Catholics Protestants, Hindus and Baha'is - are committed to considering "what we are teaching about other faiths through our religious education programs," said the Rev. John R. Deckenback of the United Church of Christ.
Some who were attacked told their stories at the news conference. "I cannot understand how people justify that attacking somebody will relieve their anger," said Ranjit Singh, a Sikh whose home was damaged two days after the terrorist attacks when a brick was thrown through a hallway window. "I can understand people are angry, but they shouldn't make things worse. There shouldn't be hate - we need to work for unity."
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