Following attacks on Muslims in Virginia (the murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen on Sunday) and London (a car driving into Muslim worshipers outside a mosque on Monday), people of faith in West Virginia have responded, as reported by the Charleston Gazette:
“The Muslim community and the entire interfaith community of Charleston are devastated and heartbroken at the loss of this innocent life resulting from such a violent hate crime,” the statement, sent by Ibtesam Sue Barazi of the Islamic Association of West Virginia, says. “The Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] and the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] have seen an increased number of attacks against Muslims, specifically women who wear head covers, in recent months.
“We in the greater Charleston interfaith community hold Hassanen, her family, and friends in our thoughts and prayers. Although we are facing difficult and challenging times, we continue to work together to build a community that is safe and just for all people, regardless of color, religious belief, life choice or ethnic heritage.”
The statement was signed by Muslim, Jewish and Christian (including Episcopal) faith leaders:
“We in the greater Charleston interfaith community condemn all hate crimes, including this horrific hate crime, the Finsbury Park mosque attack on worshipers leaving after prayers,” the statement says. “We pledge to continue to work together to build a community that is safe and just to all people regardless of color, religious beliefs, life choices or ethnic heritage.
“We ask everyone in the Kanawha Valley and West Virginia to be vigilant of all that is evil, promote love, and work toward the common good. Let us continue to work together to remove imaginary walls that divide and continue to build a diverse community that loves and respects the dignity of every human being.”
The Rev. Jeff Allen, executive director of the West Virginia Council of Churches, the Rev. Marquita Hutchens, of St. John’s Episcopal Church; the Rev. Kay Albright, of Bridges of Grace United Church of Christ; Rabbi Victor Urecki, of B’nai Jacob Synagogue; and the Rev. Sky Kershner, executive director of the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center, signed on to the statement.
Photo of Ibtesam Sue Barazi from Charleston Gazette-Mail video feature.