June 12, 2016
Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement in response to this weekend's horrific homophobic terror attack at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando:
"The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) is horrified by this weekend's homophobic terror attack targeting a Latin Night celebration at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine people were murdered and over fifty wounded in the worst act of terrorism and hate crime within the United States since 9/11.
"This attack on an LGBT nightclub, which should be a place of safety and acceptance, is not just an act of terrorism and hate crime against the LGBT and Latino communities, but strikes at the very freedoms of expression, tolerance, and security which all Americans have a right to expect.
"While much is still unknown about the gunman's motive, media reports indicate that he had twice been investigated by the FBI for ties to terrorism and that he called 911 and talked about the Islamic State during the massacre. The Islamic State has also since claimed responsibility for these murders. The killer had also apparently previously expressed extremely hateful attitudes towards the LGBT community.
"The JCRC stands united with the victims and their families, as well as the broader LGBT and Latino communities, during this hour of need. We also expect that this latest act of terrorism will galvanize the world, and in particular our elected officials and community leaders here at home, to find the courage to work together and finally take the steps necessary to stem this tide of violence and create a safer future.
"We also praise local, state, and federal law enforcement for their swift actions.
"Finally, the JCRC encourages people to show their support for the GLBT community and to honor the victims of this heinous homophobic attack by attending OutFront's vigil in Loring Park from 7:00 to 10:00 tonight."
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.