Joint Statement by the Richmond Peace Education Center and the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond
At a time that we as a country are mourning for the victims of terror and war, some public figures are instead using the tragedy of Paris to promote a dangerous politics of fear.
This is not a time for fear-mongering against Muslims and refugees. This is a time that we as a community should unite around our core values of democracy and inclusion.
We are alarmed by statements by presidential candidates and other public figures over the past 10 days endorsing such wrongheaded ideas as the registering of American Muslims, the imposing of a religious requirement on Syrian refugees, and the closing of mosques.
Here in Virginia last week the mayor of Roanoke cited the discredited internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II in rejecting the settlement of Syrian refugees in his city. Protesters yelled “Every Muslim is a terrorist!” at a public meeting in the Fredericksburg area.
Discrimination against followers of any religion or nationality is unacceptable, and is in clear opposition to the ideals enshrined in our Constitution. Such ideas are all the more dangerous when they are expressed by individuals running for the highest office in the land.
At the Richmond Peace Education Center and the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, we are deeply concerned by what appears to be a normalization of overt Islamophobia and xenophobia in the public discourse.
- Express support for members of the Muslim community in Central Virginia.
- Oppose any threats of discrimination or violence against the Muslim community or any other faith group.
- Categorically reject the conflation of Islam with terrorism.
- Hope and believe that the power of respect and inclusion will overcome the forces of violence and hate.
We invite you to share this statement…and we encourage others to create and share their own expressions of peace and inclusion.
The Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond and the Richmond Peace Education Center co-sponsor the RVA Peace Festival, an annual event that was initiated after September 11, 2001, that has continued every year for the past 14 years. It is a community celebration of interfaith cooperation in the Richmond region. Our organizations continue to work for a more peaceful and inclusive Richmond region, a region in which people of all backgrounds can coexist and thrive.