WASHINGTON: Cutting across party lines, Democratic and Republican leaders Sunday called for unity and peace after the deadliest attack on Jews at a synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh left 11 worshippers dead.
Democratic Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and Republican Steve Stivers said the politicians should work for the unity of the country and not otherwise.
Lujan chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee while Stivers is his counterpart in the Republican.
“No one should be politicising what happened this week. The senseless acts of violence that we see in Pittsburgh, the number of people that were killed while they were at a place of worship is a clear reason why Congress must act to keep people safe,” Lujan told Fox News.
“Then also with the number of people who were threatened as a result of those bombs that were being mailed across America.
But we should come together as a country. This should not be a political response, but rather a response at how we can further bring us together,” Lujan said.
A heavily-armed white man, spewing anti-Semitic threats, stormed a prominent synagogue Saturday, killing 11 worshippers in the US city of Pittsburgh, in the deadliest attack on Jews in the history of America.
The shooter, identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, yelled “all Jews must die” as he stormed the ‘Tree of Life’ Congregation Synagogue at Squirell Hill, where a large number of people had gathered for a baby naming ceremony.
Appearing on the same Sunday talk show, Stivers echoed Lujan’s views.
“I agree with Ben, that we should not be politicising these acts of violence.
Hate has no ideology. If you look at the baseball shooting last year, that happened to be a Bernie Sanders supporter. We need to come together,” he said.
“I want to say that Ben is not my enemy. Democrats are not my enemy. They are my opponents. And while we have different visions for the future of America, different directions for America, we are all Americans first.
We need to come together and do what’s in the best interest of America. And no matter who wins in ten days, I believe we can come together and make that happen,” Stivers said.
Meanwhile, several Indian-American organisations condemned the mass murder of 11 people inside the Pittsburg synagogue on Saturday.
“We grieve and mourn with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and across the country.
The hateful rhetoric that is dividing the country must stop.
We earnestly hope that the anti-Semitic rhetoric is rejected and denounced by all,” said eminent Indian-American Ved Nanda.
“These hate crimes have become all too frequent targeting one group or another in this great country.
We strongly denounce the violent hate crime that has taken the life of 11 innocent people as they celebrated their culture in their place of worship,” Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA said in a statement.
“The Sikh community in the United States is deeply saddened by this shooting. It could have occurred at any Church, Temple, or Gurdwara. These precious lives were taken away from their loved ones and we feel for all the families of the victims,” said Rajwant Singh, co-founder of the National Sikh Campaign.
He said churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and gurdwaras should be a safe place for all faith communities.
“Our heightened political rhetoric has been an impediment to creating a safe environment and the leadership of this country ought to send signals which give solace to all communities,” he said.
Appalled by the horrific attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said the incident did not stand alone as representing the scourge of anti-Semitism.
“Throughout the world, we are witnessing the alarming rise of hatred directed against Jews and Jewish institutions,” it said.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin said such evil had no place in this country and must be condemned by all.
“There can be no place for intolerance, bigotry or violence in our society. America is built on a foundation of tolerance, community and religious freedom. We must continue to be guided by these principles, especially in the face of hate,” Senator Chuck Grassley said.
“The attack on the Tree of Light Synagogue is an attack on all our houses of worship and the American Muslim Institution mourns with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh for this tragic loss of life,” said Indian-American Islam A Siddiqui, president of American Muslim Institution.