BY: SAMAIRA BAILEY
Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Bhai clergy and believers were among those who showed support for their Jewish peers during a rally last week at Independence Mall after acts of anti-Semitic vandalism in Philadelphia.
“It is now necessary for us to stand as a people,” said Imam Kenneth Nuriddin of the Philadelphia Masjid/Clara Muhammad School. “This is not the promised land but this is a land of a great promise. We have to stand together to restrain the hand of the oppressor “
Nuriddin, a board member at the Interfaith Center of Philadelphia, joined Gov. Tom Wolf, Mayor Jim Kenney and other speakers in addressing the crowd. As a member of the Interfaith Center, he said it was his job to respond whenever one is attacked.
“We have made a commitment we will respond in some fashion,” he said. “When a fire breaks out, it’s just like the fire department. We can’t sit.”
The Rev. Gregory Holston, executive director of Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild, also issued a statement in support of the Jewish community.
“Our hearts break for the families who found their loved ones’ headstones defiled Sunday morning at Mt. Carmel Cemetery. POWER stands with our Jewish brothers and sisters in abhorring Sunday’s racist and anti-Semitic act. The desecration of the graves of Jewish ancestors, is another sign, of the increasing waves of xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism afflicting our country,” he said.
“To our Jewish brothers and sisters, please know that you are not alone. There is no place for hate, desecration and violence within our communities. We will continue to stand with one another to restore a sense of security and peace to all,” he added. “At these difficult times, the relationships we have spent years cultivating hold us together in a web of commitment to all people and their inherent worth.”
Naomi Adler, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, thanked the supporters in an opening speech and urged the crowd to be open to the struggle.
“We are not afraid to condemn these acts of hatred,” she said. “Take action against hate in every form. We are all touched by hate crimes. Philadelphia is no place for hate.”