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IFLC condemns anti-Semitic posters, enabling actions of President as “cheerleader for racism”

“And then they came for me…”

Posters expressing anti-Semitism found recently in Royal Oak and Birmingham reflect the growing expression of religious and cultural hatred in our society. The posters are attributed to the Atomwaffen Division, labeled as a terrorist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of 148 hate groups in the United States, many of which are linked to white nationalist ideology.

It is especially disheartening that the president of the United States has chosen to be a cheerleader for racism, anti-Semitism and Nativism. Democracy and pluralism are not just quaint American notions but rather they are the core of what America is and what makes it great. To entertain and encourage divisiveness, racism and Nativism risk breaking the bonds of affection that sustain America as a nation, internally strong and worthy of respect internationally.

We who commit to improving the social fabric through healthy interfaith engagement and education fear that the growing expression of religious hate and racism is a grave threat to the survival of American culture. It is built on embracing the cultural and religious differences that have enhanced this nation since its inception and promise to continue to do so, if not stifled by this dangerous trend in our society.

The InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit has demonstrated that educating young people through our Religious Diversity Journeys and adults through Exploring Religious Landscapes leads to understanding, acceptance, and engagement with religions that otherwise may seem  But these are people willing to consider different beliefs and customs. What do we do with the brash ignorance of those who want to rid American society of its religious and social diversity, and revert back to the hatred of the antisemitic and racist past?

We who may be from other countries, or people of color, or religions unfamiliar to Americans fear the underlying passion of the crowd’s chant “Send her back.” When will they call for us? When will they post threats to everyone other than their definition of religion?

We, of good faith and humane intent, should reflect on the poetic interpretation of the German Lutheran Pastor, Martin Neimoller, featured in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Rev. Neimoller criticized German society for not resisting the rise of Nazi power in German. It is as relevant today as then:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out —

Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — 

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — 

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

 

Raman Singh, President

InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit

 

Rev. Stancy Adams, Chairperson

InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit

 

Robert Bruttell, Past Chairperson

InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit

 

 

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