SAALT Responds to Devastating Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2018

We are devastated by the fatal shooting at Tree of Life or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA claiming 11 lives and injuring many more. As a racial justice organization, we stand against white supremacy and bigotry in all its forms, and reaffirm our solidarity with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and with Jewish communities all over the U.S.

This is the third documented incident of white supremacist violence targeting a community in a house of worship in the last six years. In 2015, a white supremacist shot and killed nine Black worshippers at an Episcopal church in Charleston. In 2012, a known white supremacist shot and killed six Sikh Americans at the Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin.

Just last week, a gunman killed a Black woman and Black man at a grocery store in Louisville, KY, after first attempting to enter a Black church.

We are in the midst of an alarming trend – white supremacist violence is intensifying as openly divisive policies and poisonous political rhetoric are rolled out with grim consistency. While the targets of this violence, policies, and rhetoric are numerous, we know fear is intensifying in our communities.   Since November 2016, SAALT has documented 416 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric against Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities alone. One in five perpetrators of the hate violence incidents from November 2016 to November 2017 referenced President Trump, a Trump policy, or a Trump campaign slogan.

Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans (SAALT), offered the following statement:

“In a tragic paradox, South Asian Americans and Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities are growing rapidly even as they are increasingly targets of violence. This is not only unacceptable, it’s un-American.   Any attack on communities based upon how they pray, their skin color, or their perceived nationality is an attack on our nation’s core values.  We remain a part of this nation’s fabric, and are not going anywhere.  We stand in unity with all communities fighting for the nation we love at this critical time.”

CONTACT: Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org