Local faith leaders react to mass shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue

A Pennsylvania man is facing federal hate charges after a deadly rampage in a synagogue Saturday. Police say 46- year-old Robert Bowers is the man behind that deadly shooting in Pittsburgh.

Eleven people were killed and six more were injured, including three police officers. Reports of the shooting started around 10:20 a.m. Eastern Time at the Tree of Life Synagogue, a conservative Jewish congregation.

Both the Islamic and Jewish community leaders are reacting on the mass shooting.

The Pittsburgh mass shooting prompted heightened security at other places of worship throughout the country, including Jewish community centers, schools, synagogues, neighborhoods, and the nation’s capital.

Both Islamic and Jewish leaders say that Saturday’s massacre marks a critical moment.

Faith leaders say that an attack on a synagogue is an attack on a mosque, an attack on a church, and an attack on a temple. They say what happened Saturday in Pittsburgh should be upsetting to any community of faith.

“The response, of course, is to be secure. To promise our children that there's nothing more important than their security. And so to be diligent in our security, but also, part of being diligent in our security is not to give into this hate, but to love more,” said Rabbi Susan Talve.

A spokesperson from the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis released the following statement condemning the shooting Saturday morning:

The Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis condemns the despicable shooting this morning at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. The Muslim community is horrified at this loss of life in the sanctuary of one’s place of worship.

At least 11 precious lives are lost, many injured, few critically. Our brave law enforcement agencies apprehended the perpetrator and prevented further loss of human lives. Four police officers were also injured. We pray for speedy recovery for all. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

Our nation has not yet recovered from the shock of explosive devices sent to many prominent leaders and politicians over the last few days. Today, again, we are at a loss to explain this senseless crime against worshippers who had gathered for “bris.”

We are dismayed at the discourse of some extremist factions in our nation who are intolerant of different points of view and of minorities. They are ripping apart the fabric of our society. The diversity of America is what makes it Great and serve as a beacon of light for the world.
We have had many challenging times in the past, and we have turned over the pages of the dark chapters of our history. These intolerant views/actions are dragging us to a low level. We have to join together to fight these dark forces against our values, democracy and humanity.