Group Calls for FBI Action to Protect Houses of Worship
WASHINGTON, DC — The following is a statement from Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, on the deadly shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California. The shooter has reportedly claimed responsibility for a recent mosque burning in that same area. On March 19, Muslim Advocates, the Union for Reform Judaism, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Sikh Coalition sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray urging the FBI to prioritize addressing white nationalist violence targeting houses of worship and requesting that he meet with civil rights groups. Director Wray has not yet responded:
“This Passover shooting at Chabad of Poway synagogue is heartbreaking. We send our deepest condolences to the victims and their families, the community of Chabad of Poway, and American Jews everywhere. This is an attack on us all.
News reports indicate that this shooter also claimed responsibility for a recent mosque burning that took place just a few miles from Chabad of Poway. While this is not yet confirmed, it fits a chilling pattern of recent white nationalist violence at houses of worship nationwide–synagogues, mosques and churches.
40 days ago, we joined with civil rights and faith groups to urge the FBI to prioritize counterterrorism resources on this issue and to meet with us and our communities. Since then, there has been a mosque burning in California, three Black church burnings in Louisiana, and now this fatal attack on a synagogue. Yet, the FBI Director has not even responded to our concerns.
How much blood needs to be shed before we come together and stop violence like this at houses of worship nationwide? It’s time for Director Wray to give this scourge the urgent, priority attention it deserves.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.