Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders unite to condemn Orlando shootings
Multifaith religious leaders have united to condemn the attacks in Orlando.
50 people were killed and 53 injured yesterday in the shocking terrorist hate crime attack, which saw a gunman open fire inside The Pulse gay bar in Orlando, Florida.
ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack, which was perpetrated by US citizen Omar Mateen. The majority of the victims were Latino.
Religious leaders from across the spectrum had gathered in Nevada over the weekend in Reno for an interfaith conference.
After the attack took place, leaders of Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, Native American and Atheist traditions gathered in South Reno United Methodist Church to strongly condemn the attack.
Rajan Zed, who organised this gathering, said: “We, the faith leaders of Nevada, unanimously condemn any and all acts of violence against innocent people.
“We are deeply saddened by this morning’s tragedy of Orlando nightclub massacre. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. It was a senseless and shocking violence”.
“We, as people of faith, despite our different belief systems, must take a stand against violence by coming together with kindness and love.”
Those present included Dawn M. Flower, Senior Pastor of South Reno United Methodist Church; Abdul Rahim Barghouthi, Acting Imam of Northern Nevada Muslim Community; Matthew T. Fisher, Resident Priest of Reno Buddhist Center; ElizaBeth Webb Beyer, Rabbi of Temple Beth Or & North Tahoe Hebrew Congregation; Gene Savoy Junior, Bishop of International Community of Christ; Justin V. Deverse, Baha’i Teacher; Brian E. Melendez, American Indian Spirituality Scholar; Bernard T. Drumm, Atheist leader; Kenneth G. Lucey, Religion Professor at University of Nevada.
Many world leaders have condemned the hate crime attack.
President Obama said: “This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends – our fellow Americans – who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
“The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live.
“The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub – it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.
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“So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation – is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”
Canada’s Justin Trudeau said: “It is appalling that as many as 50 lives may have been lost to this domestic terror attack targeting the LGBTQ2 community.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our condolences and prayers to the families and friends of those lost today, and wish a full recovery to all those injured. We stand in solidarity with Orlando and the LGBTQ2 community.
“We grieve with our friends in the United States and Florida, and offer any assistance we can provide.”
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “I strongly condemn the horrific shooting in Orlando, Florida.
“I grieve with all those who lost loved ones, the LGBT community, and the American people. My thoughts are with the many who were injured in this act of terror.”