Religious Communities and Advocacy Organizations Issue Statements Regarding Backlash, Scapegoating

September 13, 2001

Source: Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

On September 13, 2001, Reform Jewish leaders expressed outrage at reports of attacks against Muslim Americans and Arab Americans. In a joint statement from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie and Rabbi David Saperstein wrote: "At times such as these—and we pray that there will no more such times—it is especially important that we behave with deliberation, lest trauma distort our actions. Specifically, we need to bear in mind that this conflict is between the United States and those who would see our way of life destroyed. It is not between some Americans and others. We must not allow this attack on America to divide Americans. We are concerned, in particular, with reports that some in our nation have directed their understandable anger at Tuesday's carnage at individual Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. We are outraged at reports of attacks on Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, and their mosques and businesses and condemn all such acts of lawlessness. Such attacks, such scapegoating, are deeply un-American. They also violate what is perhaps a preeminent lesson of Jewish history—the danger of group hatred, of imputing to a group the actions of a few individuals. We know that like all Americans, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans overwhelming share our revulsion at the terrorist attacks, and our commitment to American values. We know that they, too, have family and friends injured or killed in the attacks, and our condolences go out to them, as to all who are grieving. On Tuesday, evil was evident, but humanity will prevail."