The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) condemns the heinous shooting at Chabad of Poway, California on the last day of Passover that left one congregant dead and three injured, including the synagogue’s rabbi.  The 19-year-old shooter was apprehended quickly, and he is being charged with a hate crime. 

“Attacking innocent Jews in prayer during Passover is simply unconscionable,” said MJAC Co-Chair Farooq Kathwari. “All Americans should be appalled and work in diverse coalitions to put an end to the rampant violence caused by hate that is increasing in our country. We must not become desensitized, we must stand up, and we must take action.”

The shooter appears to have posted online about his plans to carry out the attack and rooted his violence in his white supremacist ideals. In the posting, the shooter also claimed responsibility for setting fire to a mosque in Escondido, California last month.

“The ideology that motivated this horrific shooting targets Muslims and Jews alike,” said MJAC Co-Chair Stanley Bergman. “The same brand of hate led to the shootings of Jews in Pittsburgh, Muslims in New Zealand, Christians in Charleston, Sikhs in Oak Creek, and many others. Our government must assess the threat posed by white supremacy and give our law enforcement officials the resources they need to confront it.”

MJAC has advocated for hearings in both houses of Congress to assess the threat of violence posed by people subscribing to white supremacist ideology. Earlier this month the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on white nationalism and hate crimes. The hearing came just days after MJAC called upon Congress to examine white supremacism as a motivating ideology of violent hate crimes.

In the wake of the Poway shootings, MJAC renews its call for Congress to take this threat seriously. Congress should investigate whether law enforcement and interagency task forces possess adequate resources to address these threats; whether new Federal legislation is needed; whether certain public institutions, such as prisons, are particular sites of susceptibility to the propagation of domestic extremist ideologies; and how technology and social media can be used to counter extremist content and radicalization.

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