WASHINGTON – Following the death of a Muslim teenager in an apparent hate crime in Kansas City, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance sent the following letter expressing his solidarity to several local Muslim leaders:
Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City
8501 E 99th St
Kansas City, MO 64134
December 5, 2014
Dear Mr. Ahamand,
My heart, and the thoughts and prayers of every member of Interfaith Alliance, are with you, your community and the family of the young boy who was killed yesterday. It is too soon to know the exact details of this attack, but it is not too soon to recognize the pain that your community is experiencing today. We have, sadly, seen too many situations over the years like the brutal attack that occurred in Kansas City yesterday and we know that this violence affects more than just a particular individual. Violence of this nature targets an entire community and attempts to tell that community that they are less a part of the fabric of American life, less entitled to the freedom of religion and protection of civil rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution. I write to you today to promise that no matter how pronounced the voices and actions of those who seek to isolate and denigrate American Muslims, the interfaith community will stand stronger in defense of religious freedom and equal rights.
It is troubling to reflect that recently I have had to write similar statements to the leaders of communities not so far away from your own, including the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park and the Flood Christian Church near Ferguson. The purveyors of hate who seek to terrorize minority communities in America are not limited in the targets of their vitriol. Today the Muslim community is joined in their grief by the Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu communities who still grieve for the members of their communities that have been lost to hate and injustice. This violence endangers all of those who openly and proudly celebrate their religion – none of our religious freedom is truly secure until it is secure for all of us.
The fact that this pain is neither new nor unique to the Muslim community should not distract from the fact that there has been a surge in violence against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim in recent years. It is incumbent on people of all faiths and those of no particular faith tradition to stand together in this moment and demand an end to this kind of violence and discrimination against American Muslims. I urge law enforcement to do everything possible to ensure that justice is done for this young man and this community, and I urge all those in Kansas City and Overland Park, across the region and across the country, to continue to show solidarity for the Muslim community of greater Kansas City.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.