Letter: Rev. Aileen Fitzke, Loudoun County Interfaith Clergy & Faith Leaders Group

Editor: The Loudoun County Interfaith Clergy & Faith Leaders Group, which is a multi-faith group, joins leaders from across our nation in condemning the horrific attack against Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX during the course of Shabbat services last week. 

We rejoice that none of the hostages suffered physical harm during their ordeal, and pray for their full emotional recovery. We also note the rise of violent antisemitic attacks across the country in recent years. We know from these prior attacks against the Jewish community that the outcomes in Colleyville could have been far worse.

We also note with concern the initial unwillingness of many, even in law enforcement, to affirm the antisemitic motivation of this attack. We now know that the target was deliberately a Jewish congregation, in prayer, during the Jewish Shabbat. Thousands of people online heard the antisemitic hatred spewed by the attacker. Thankfully, the FBI has reconsidered their original assessment concerning antisemitism in this attack. We urge that all the law enforcement agencies and departments in Loudoun County similarly acknowledge that the role of antisemitism in this, and other violent attacks, cannot be downplayed or ignored. Similarly, threats of antisemitic violence need to be heard as it is within the Jewish community: real, and a matter of deep concern.  

Our diverse faith groups all affirm human dignity as a Divine gift to every person, and revocable by no person. We call on all of our neighbors in Loudoun and beyond to promote respect for all religious traditions, most especially those traditions that are non-Christian and therefore more frequently targets of intolerance, hatred, and violence. 

We invite faith communities and individuals to reach out in acts of comfort and support to our local Jewish community. Don’t simply offer “thoughts and prayers” but engage and find out how we all can make a difference against hatred by actively promoting religious understanding in our homes, families, schools, playing fields, workplaces, and even our prayer spaces. As a first step we also call upon Loudoun County residents to encourage the U.S. Senate to pass the bipartisan Pray Safe Act (S.2123), which would establish a federal clearinghouse on security best practices for houses of worship, and to fully fund nonprofit security grants to keep our communities safe.

Rev. Aileen Fitzke, Chair 

Loudoun County Interfaith Clergy & Faith Leaders Group

8 thoughts on “Letter: Rev. Aileen Fitzke, Loudoun County Interfaith Clergy & Faith Leaders Group

  • 2022-01-20 at 9:22 pm
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    Ironically, the hostage crisis in Texas was unfolding as Youngkin was inaugurated. But Youngkin didn’t have the decency to have a rabbi say a prayer at his inaugural. My goodness. Sixty years ago, President Kennedy had a rabbi give the benediction at his inaugural. Youngkin is a throwback to a time period prior to JFK. He really missed an opportunity to help unite folks.

    • 2022-01-21 at 8:50 am
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      You’re trying to connect an antisemetic attack on the Jewish community by a muslim UK citizen with the inauguration of the Virginia governor.

      How about this…. as the hostage crisis was unfolding, the Michigan Attorney General, Dana Nessel (D), declared that “white supremicists” were likely behind it?

      Are you guys reading from the same bogus talking points, or what? It’s really disgusting.

      As for the letter writer’s point about the FBI:
      There is something seriously wrong with that organization. Has been for years. Pushing a false narrative for fear of offending a certain segment of the population is beyond troublesome.

      • 2022-01-21 at 9:37 am
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        And one final bit of truth:

        Glenn Youngkin’s inauguration ceremony began at noon EST.
        Negotiators from the FBI weren’t on scene in Texas until mid afternoon.
        The man isn’t a mind reader. I don’t think he has a direct line of communication with local Texas law enforcement. The story wasn’t even on the national news until midday.

        The dots you are trying to connect are fiction. And do nothing to “unite.”

    • 2022-01-21 at 9:31 am
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      Further destroying your bogus narrative:

      From Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order #8 (issued on the day of his inauguration).
      ESTABLISHING THE COMMISSION TO COMBAT ANTISEMITISM

      “The purpose of this Commission is to study antisemitism in the Commonwealth, propose
      actions to combat antisemitism and reduce the number of antisemitic incidents, as well as
      compile materials and provide assistance to Virginia’s public school system and state institutions
      of higher education in relation to antisemitism and its connection to the Holocaust.”

      This group will report DIRECTLY to the Governor and the General Assembly.

    • 2022-01-21 at 12:04 pm
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      You could not be more wrong again! Did you notice Executive Order 8 Youngkin signed on Saturday, before this incident in Texas took place a couple days later? On Saturday, Youngkin established a commission to combat anti-Semitism. The commission will work to reduce the number of anti-Semitic incidents that occur in the Commonwealth. Youngkin will also provide public schools and state institutions with learning resources about anti-Semitism and its ties to the Holocaust.

      So, rather than make some meaningless gesture as Democrats are oft to do, the new Republican Governor presciently issued an Executive Order that will actually address the problem.

  • 2022-01-21 at 9:02 am
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    Security is a massive problem for all gatherings. Especially those which focus on peace and faith.

    When the West Freeway CoC attack occurred, we got to see the awful violence and the incredible determination of that group’s security team. Those brave souls deserve all the credit in the world.

    When Mike Bloomberg (D), in the days following, declared that the church’s security team should not have been armed, we got an actual look into where many on the Left stand on the basic human right of safety. They’d rather see a slaughter of church-goers, than allow law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, their families and their friends.

  • 2022-01-21 at 12:51 pm
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    While I condemn the actions of the individual and certainly glad to hear about his death, in no way should tax payer money be spent or given to places of worship. These entities are tax exempt because of the separations clause, it should remain that way.

  • 2022-01-21 at 2:52 pm
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    The FBI clearly was trying to prevent this horrendous event from getting identified as an anti-Semitic hate crime. I have to ask myself why they struggled so long to deny the obvious facts in this case.

    I am all in favor of thoughts and prayers but it would be of more immediate help to clarify the Virginia law related to carrying firearms in places of worship when religious services are in process. I can carry a pistol in my church but when the service starts, the currently poorly worded law makes it less legally certain.

    Give parishioners a chance to defend themselves against lunatics who attack churches and there will be fewer attacks on churches.

    As far as Youngkin’s swearing in, the Texas attack happened around 10:41 CT/11:41 ET when Mr. Northam was governor. Younkgin was sworn in just after noon on that date. I guess it’s just bad luck that the new governor didn’t anticipate the religious affiliations of the terrorist or victims of an attack that started 20 minutes before he was sworn in. That dastardly racist chose to have an African-American pastor deliver a prayer and a Hispanic pastor deliver the benediction at his swearing in. Perhaps we can keep a cleric of all faiths on standby for such events in the future.

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