A statement on the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre

When our nearest neighbours-in-faith are gunned down whilst they worship, by someone whose heart was turned to malice, we weep with those who mourn them; we join in with the prayers of those left bewildered and traumatised; we pledge solidarity with those who commit themselves to rooting out the vilification that has gone on for far too long.

Many of us grew up with the proverb ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.’ This is plainly not true. It doesn’t take long for derisory name-calling to develop into something even worse. In this post-Holocaust world there can be no excuses: we have seen where prejudice and slander, broken windows and boycotts lead.

Just as ignorant comments about Islamism have led to islamophobia across our world so the disproportionate focus and imbalanced views on the Israel Palestine conflict have been a factor in bringing antisemitism to the surface again. There have been precedents before, history is littered with examples. If, in the past, those who sought to prevent persecution and pogrom were too few in number and weak in effect then we today must learn from this. We will surely be judged by how far we are willing to go in resisting the forces of contempt.

Our honesty has to be unquestionably resolute: over the course of time, yes we have made mistakes; but now there is no place in our world, anywhere in our world, for religious hatred. Our voices have to be united, loud and clear: enough! After all, our lives and the lives of those who come after us are inextricably linked. This we must never forget: what we say and do here and now impacts upon others elsewhere on another day.

So, let us dwell together in peace as sisters and brothers under the canopy of heaven and may those who beg to differ be cast from any platform of influence.