Eleven innocent lives were brutally taken in what is said to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States, on Saturday, October 27, 2018.
Among the victims were a 97-year-old woman, a husband and wife, and two brothers who were all attending Saturday-morning services inside the Tree of Life synagogue, reported The Washington Post.
The 46-year-old suspect, Robert Bowers, is now facing 29 charges, according to CNN, including 11 counts of murder, and multiple counts of hate crimes. The suspect was said to have made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting.
This act of terrorism took place amid the arrest of the suspect who sent a dozen pipe bombs to members of the Democratic Party, and two weeks before the midterm election. It has brought up discussion of the rise of anti-Semitism, bigotry, and gun control.
“The approach we need to be looking at is how we take the guns — the common denominator of every mass shooting in America — out of the hands of those looking to express hatred through murder,” said Bill Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh.
The suspect’s home was searched, as well as his social-media feeds. Investigators came across a since-deleted Gab account with Bowers’ name, which compared Jews to Satan and complained that Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ movement cannot succeed so long as Jews ‘infest’ the country, as reported by The Washington Post.
There’s no question that Trump has created a climate where bigots feel empowered to act on their hatred. The ADL published a report titled, “Computational Propaganda, Jewish-Americans and the 2018 Midterms: The Amplification of Anti-Semitic Harassment Online” in which they stated:
“Following [Donald Trump’s] election, anti-Semitism has become normalized and harassment is a daily occurrence. The harassment, deeply rooted in age-old conspiracies such as the New World Order, which alleges that an evil cabal of Jewish people have taken autocratic control of the globe, and Holocaust imagery – faces placed inside Nazi concentration camp ovens or stretched on lampshades – shows no signs of abating.”
Trump can make as many statements condoning this heinous incident as he wants, but the damage is done. His presidency is tainted with the rhetoric of bigotry. As long as he is our president, evil individuals like Bowers will continue to feel empowered, and our freedom of religion remains under attack. All of ours. No matter our religion. If you think this doesn’t affect you as a Muslim, you are wrong. Because an attack against one of us, is an attack against ALL of us.
As narrated by Bukhari, The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, stood up to pay respects for a passing Jewish funeral procession. When questioned on why he stood for a Jewish funeral, he responded, “Is it not a human soul?”
In a country where a president wishes to create division, we the people, must come together in the name of humanity.