Denouncing Hate That Targets Religion

SF Bay Area Faith Leaders Denounce Incidents of Hate Targeting Religion
December 1, 2016

News of a hateful letter received by the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose and at least five other mosques is the most recent of an increasing number of incidents targeting people of different religions across the country.

As religious leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area, we cherish the rich diversity of religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions that comprise the mosaic that is America. Our diversity is a resource rather than a barrier to the democratic nation that we seek to be. Incidents of hate, such as this, seek to dehumanize “the other” and contradict the most basic principles common to our age-old faith teachings and those religious liberties enshrined in the American Constitution.

The rise of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in our country, catalyzed in part by the divisive rhetoric of the current political climate, is of great concern to all who seek cohesive and peaceful communities. When any one religion comes under attack, all religions come under attack. Therefore, we unite in condemning such acts. We stand together to denounce this and all acts that seek to marginalize and target entire faith communities.

G.L. Hodge, Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Rita R. Semel, Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Michael G. Pappas, Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council

Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, Resident Imam, SF Muslim Community Center
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, The Episcopal Diocese of California
Rev. Fr. Mesrop Ash, Parish Priest, St. John Armenian Church
Fatih Ferdi Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute
The Rev. Sally Bingham, Canon for the Environment, The Episcopal Diocese of California
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Pastor, Third Baptist Church & President, SF Branch-NAACP
Rev. Angela Brown, JD, Associate Pastor, GLIDE
Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., Interim Senior Pastor, GLIDE
Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Society of SF Ken Chambers, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Alameda County
Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco
Linda L. Crawford, Executive Director, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Sister Chandrika Desai, Director, Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center, SF
Pastor Elizabeth Ekdale, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
Maha Elgenaidi, Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Fred Fielding, Board President, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Executive Director, No. California Board of Rabbis
Julie Greenfield, Facilitator, Eden Area Interfaith Council
Iftekhar Hai, President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
Sari Heidenreich, Regional Coordinator, URI North America
David Hoffman, Chair, Interfaith Council of Sonoma County
Rev. Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod, ELCA
Rev. Theon Johnson, III, Associate Pastor, GLIDE
Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice, Archdiocese of San Francisco
The Rev. Victor Kazanjian, Jr., Executive Director, United Religions Initiative
Rev. D. Andrew Kille, Chair, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Rev. Ronald Kobata, Resident Minister, Buddhist Church of San Francisco
Rev. Deborah Lee, United Church of Christ, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
Dr. James McCray, Jr., Tabernacle Community Development Corp.
Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
Abby Porth, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
Rev. Scott Quinn, Acting Director, Marin Interfaith Council
Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Sherith Israel
Rev. Schuyler Rhodes, Superintendent, Bridges District, CA-NV Conference-UMC
Moina Shaiq, President, Tri City Interfaith Council
Rita Shimmin, Executive Director, GLIDE
Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
Rev. John Weems, Pastor & Head of Staff, Calvary Presbyterian Church
The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, Dean, Grace Cathedral
Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel

For additional information, please contact Michael G. Pappas at (415) 425-9631.

BANding Against Islamophobia

We would like to give everyone an opportunity to ask questions and discuss what’s on their mind following President Trump’s immigrant ban. Learn about the impact on our Muslim communities, how we can survive this political climate through unity, agree to disagree, and embrace our differences. It’ll be worth your time.

Join us for an open, safe, and much needed evening among your fellow residents. Bring family and friends, ask questions, and connect with each other on a personal level.

Free forum, light snacks and beverages will be provided. Limited seating.


  • Moina Shaiq: Founder of “Meet a Muslim” forum; speaker of our first Diversity Series. Activist and resident of Fremont.
  • Samina Sundas: Founder and Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice Foundation. She is committed to healing America and all Americans by taking the interfaith/intercommunity dialog to the next level.
  • Sabuhi Siddique: Vice Chair of Human Relations Commission at Santa Clara County

“Meet a Muslim” and other ways of addressing Islamophobia

In response to rising Islamophobia, “Meet a Muslim” events are now growing in popularity. In this webinar we will share ideas, advice and inspiration for others to host similar events in local communities.

Join us as we talk to activists who have found creative ways to tackle this issue:

Kate Chance – Interfaith Coordinator of Islamic Networks Group, Lead Organizer of Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters

Mona Haydar —
Catherine Orsborn — Campaign Director of Shoulder to Shoulder
Moina Shaiq — Founder of Tri City Interfaith Council and President of Muslim Support Network
Shakila T Ahmad — Board Chair and President of The Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati
Ameena Jandali — Content Director of Islamic Networks Group

Los Gatos JCC receives bomb threat

It’s happened yet again. The Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos was evacuated due to a bomb threat. [See story here.]

Last week, the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto was evacuated after receiving a similar threat. Across the county, more than 73 such centers have received similar threats. Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia have been desecrated. Mosques, including the Evergreen Islamic Center, have received threats and individual Muslims have been harassed. A man yelling “get out of my country” shot two Indian men in Kansas, killing one and wounding the other.

Incidents of harassment against immigrants and suspected immigrants are on the rise. I believe it is only a handful of people who are acting out, but their actions affect many of our friends and neighbors, not just Jews or Muslims, Sikhs or Hindus.

Some misguided people in our midst seem to believe that since the election the rules of civility have changed, and that it is now somehow acceptable to lash out against our brothers and sisters. They are sadly mistaken. This is not our way; this behavior is not acceptable in our nation.

An attack on anyone because of their religion or race is an attack on us all, and together we will rise to defend all the diverse religions and cultures that together make up our Silicon Valley community.

It’s time for the Justice Department to get serious about investigating these incidents, and arresting and prosecuting those responsible.

And as for the rest of us- visit your local JCC. They sponsor events and classes open to the whole community. Bring a friend. Join. Donate. Reach out.


Rev. D. Andrew Kille
Chair, SiVIC

Unity Rally

Join us in this CELEBRATION of diversity, acceptance and inclusion, as we gather to show the world that we will not accept any form of hate in our district.

WHY: A group called ACT FOR AMERICA has chosen Santa Clara as one of its locations across the country to stage an anti-Muslim demonstration. The group has been classified as a HATE GROUP, and has made it their mission to villainize Muslims, building a plaform to perpetuate and promote the most hateful language imaginable.


WHAT: We are calling on activists and allies from the region to come together for peacful Unity Rally. We will show our support for people of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, color, ethnicity, and ability.

– Wear white
– Wear flowers
– Bring flowers to give away
– Bring American flags!
– Make LARGE white signs with BOLD black letters
– Signs should be POSITIVE
– Signs should show what we believe IN

Vigil hosted by:

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus
Asian Law Alliance
Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area
Eden Area Interfaith Council
Islamic Networks Group
Meet a Muslim
Multifaith Voices for Peace
NAACP Silicon Valley
People Acting in Community Together
Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition
Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
SIREN Bay Area
Westminster Presbyterian Church

To join the list of event hosts and add your organization’s name to this effort, complete this form:

(Description adapted from the Unity Roseville page.)

Bay Area Joint Statement Against Hate

Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area benefit from both individuals and institutions whose faith motivates them to provide food to the hungry, shelter to the needy, inexpensive or free health care, and other humanitarian services.

Our history includes episodes of injustice and harmful conduct based on ethnicity, race, and nationality, but also a strong history of opposing bigotry and embracing all people of good conscience. We also value our history of embracing individuals’ right to practice the faith tradition of their choice.

While some isolated individuals in our community may sometimes hold events designed to foster hatred and fear, those involved in legally expressing their political opinions must enjoy the protection of our nation’s laws. However, we similarly exercise our speech rights to reject and marginalize hate speech and attempts to divide our communities.

Islamic societies, organizations, places of worship, and communities enrich and benefit the spiritual, moral and cultural life of our community. We find abhorrent all forms of discrimination, including those forms of discrimination targeting religion or belief. We oppose any expression of bigotry towards Muslims with the equal moral, legal and practical force that we oppose other forms of discrimination.

We find abhorrent all forms of discrimination, including those forms of discrimination targeting religion or belief. We oppose any expression of bigotry towards Muslims with the same full moral, legal and practical force that we oppose other forms of discrimination.

Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Together with dozens of local religious and community groups

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