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June 18, 2015

Faith Communities Condemn Racist Murders in Charleston, S.C.

Minneapolis, MN – The Minnesota Council of Churches, the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and Dakotas, the Islamic Center of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Rabbinical Association issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s murders in Charleston, S.C.:

“The Minnesota Council of Churches, the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and Dakotas, the Islamic Center of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Rabbinical Association condemn as an affront to God and humanity the reprehensible murderous hate crime committed at the ‘Mother Emanuel’ AME Congregation in Charleston, South Carolina. We pray in solidarity for the victims and their families and friends; the church; the people of Charleston; and our nation. We support law enforcement’s investigation of this crime and the swift prosecution of the terrorist who committed these heinous murders.

“These murders are a stab to the heart of all decent people, everywhere. Churches and houses of worship in the United States and throughout the world are places of prayer, contemplation, and protection. For the historic black churches, their sanctuaries were the heart of non-violent peaceful protest, often in the face of violence, in the national struggle to secure civil rights, voting rights, and dignity.

“Yesterday’s murders are a reversion to some of the worst moments of our nation’s history. The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in response to the September, 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, which killed four African American girls, echo sadly and loudly today. Such killings are ‘one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.’

“Hate crimes attack both individual victims and entire communities. They are meant to isolate and terrorize. We stand in direct contrast: for an inclusive and pluralistic community, one that cherishes life and recognizes that every person is created in the divine image. Religious organizations across the country have reached out to the African Methodist Episcopal Church leadership and South Carolina Council of Churches in support.

“The JCRC participated in a prayer vigil at the Minnesota Church Center today. Bishop Bruce Ough of the Dakotas and Minnesota Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church presided over the vigil.

“All those gathered pondered: ‘Oh Lord, when there is no peace in sanctuary, we pray for the violence in this land and the division in our lives to end.’

“Contributions to ‘Mother Emmanuel’ AME congregation in Charleston can be made at http://www.emanuelamechurch.org/.”

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As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.