A statement from NJAAH re: the attacks in New Zealand

The New Jersey Alliance Against Hate was founded on the principle that all peoples are entitled to safety, dignity, justice and respect. We are an alliance of groups frequently targeted for contempt, hate or harm. Its our intention to provide a forum where people of different backgrounds can meet, share, lament, plan when any one of the group has been a target of hate. Our member groups subscribe to the idea and action that If one of the group has been attacked, all members respond in unity in defense of that group, opposing the wrong doing. The group supports and encourages the aspiration that all children be taught within a non-bias education protocol.

In this spirit, the New Jersey Alliance Against Hate, and all our member groups, resoundly condemn the recent attacks on two Mosques in New Zealand, the murder of 50 of its members and the injury to many more. The murderer has been detained and will receive appropriate justice. The country of New Zealand has already changed its gun laws to limit access to the kind of weapons used in the murders. We applaud that courageous and decisive act.

The work of NJAAH and many, many other groups is ongoing, it is necessary, and daunting. Rejecting hate and the organizations fostering hate must go forward, on an on-going basis, on an ever-vigilant basis, on a collaborative basis. While all individual bias- reduction, hate-reduction groups must continue their work defending the members of their particular group, the work of opposing hate and bias is most powerful when all anti-hate groups stand together as well. All supportive groups, when working together are strongest when speaking in a single and loud voice.

It is NJAAH’s mission to bring all peoples together, to reject hate together and, at the same time, work on positive messaging and education in search of the path to reject humankind’s inhumanity to humankind and embrace all peoples equally and with respect. Everyone deserves a life lived in safety and a life lived with dignity.

For more information go to njaah.org.

FT Interfaith Council organizes vigil for 49 victims of terrorism in New Zealand

Dear friends and fellow community members,

Please join us and many of our fellow Franklin neighbors for a vigil tomorrow night in memory of the 49 victims of terrorism in New Zealand where 49 men, women and children killed praying in two mosques. 

The vigil will be held at Temple Beth El, 1489 Hamilton St. in Somerset. It will start at 8:00 pm, Saturday, March 16. 

 Let us in one voice to categorically condemn all form of hate and bigotry.  Today we are sick. Our hearts ache. Our heads are pounding. Our minds are reeling. We drop to our knees and beseech the Almighty, “How can this madness continue? How can a loving God stand by and watch this horror happen?” In the clearest of voices from the heavens, God responds, “I am not. You are letting this happen. I cannot do what you refuse to do, and if good people will do nothing to stop these nightmarish killings, I can only be here to weep with you.” 

Let’s come together and use this gathering to show solidarity and reaffirm our commitment to promote unity and understanding among all people and do our part to immunize our community from any form of hate and bigotry! 

Thank you,

Alex Kharazi, Ph.D                                                       Rabbi Eli Garfinkel

President, FT Interfaith Council                              Vice President, FT interfaith Council 

Muslims crowdfund for victims of Pittsburgh synagogue attack

Crowdfunding has become a go-to effort for relief following hate crimes and mass shootings in the US.

US Muslim-American community raise tens of thousands of dollars for victims of shooting attack [Cathal McNaughton/ Reuters]

The Muslim-American community has raised tens of thousands of dollars in a crowdfunding effort to help the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that left at least 11 people dead and six wounded.

The campaign, which is hosted by Muslim crowdfunding site LaunchGood, aims to help shooting victims, “whether it is the injured victims or the Jewish families who have lost loved ones”.

It was started by Tarek El-Messidi, a Muslim-American speaker and founder of CelebrateMercy, a nonprofit organisation that “teaches about the Prophet Muhammad’s life and character”.

According to an update the campaign’s page, its original goal of $25,000 was raised in “only” six hours. The goal has now been extended to $50,000, with nine days left. At the time of publication on Sunday, the sum had exceeded $43,000.

Tarek El-Messidi


Muslims, let’s stand with our Jewish cousins against hate, bigotry, & violence.


MUSLIMS: Let us stand with our Jewish cousins against this senseless, anti-Semitic murder. Guided by our faith, @CelebrateMercy & @MPower_Change ask you respond to evil with good. Donate now to help shooting victims with funeral expenses & medical bills: http://launchgood.com/synagogue 

View image on Twitter

Robert Bowers, 48, has been named as the suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighbourhood. He has been charged with 29 offences, including hate crimes.

According to the Allegheny County medical examiners’ office, the 11 people killed in the synagogue included a married couple, Bernice and Sylvan Simon, and two brothers, Cecil and David Rosenthal.

David Rosenthal was the youngest at 54. The eldest was 97-year-old Rose Mallinger.

The dead also included Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Jerry Rabinowitz, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irving Younger.

More donations

Another fundraising campaign was started on GoFundMe by Shay Khatiri, an Iranian who currently lives in Washington, DC, according to his profile on the website.

Khatiri, who appears not to have any direct connection to Pittsburgh, tweeted that his reason for starting the campaign was that he wanted to donate.

He said his “donation would be too little to make any change, but I could make a viral campaign” in response to questions about his motivations.

Andrea Karshan (((אֲבִיבָה)))@karshanandrea

I am just wondering what motivated you to start a gofundme for the synagogue since you aren’t a member. Can you please explain. Perhaps that will make people feel more comfortable.

Shay Khatiri@ShayKhatiri

That’s a fair question. I woke up today to my friend telling me what happened. My first reaction was “I’m gonna donate a little money to the synagogue to help them recover.” Then I realized that my donation would be too little to make any change, but I could make a viral campaign

The GoFundMe campaign has raised over $247,000, well over its original goal of $100,000. It has has extended its goal to $1m.

The Tree of Life synagogue is also accepting donations on its website, according to a post on the GoFundMe page.