Brooklyn clergy grieve for Sikh temple victims

August 7, 2012 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Several clergy with Brooklyn affiliations have signed a statement of solidarity with the victims of  the shooting at the Sikh Temple over the weekend.

The four-paragraph statement reads:

“We join our colleagues in the New York City faith community, and Americans of faith and no faith, in grieving for the victims of the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. Our hearts go out to all of their families, to their community, to the people of Oak Creek, and to the courageous first responders who sought to protect members of the congregation. It is a core treasure of American democracy that all peoples have the right to pray as they choose. That someone would breach the peace of sacred space with such profound harm is shocking.

“We offer our deepest condolences to our friends in the Sikh community. At this time we still do not understand the rationale for this heinous act, but we stand in solidarity with the Sikh community that has suffered shameful expressions of prejudice. We will continue to work together with all who seek to extinguish the fires of discrimination, religious or otherwise, and to broaden the path where all of us can walk together.

“We think of the Sikh faith’s understanding of the oneness of humanity, belief in the equality of all people, embrace of non-violence, and commitment to service. We stand with them not only during this tragic time but always, as members of one human family.

“We were not surprised to learn that even amidst their grief and shock, members of the Sikh community in Oak Creek served food and water to the media covering this terrible tragedy, and promised to open the doors of their gurdwara in even wider welcome to the world in coming weeks.”

The signers included:

•Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, spiritual leader of Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights. He is executive vice president of the NY Board of Rabbis and a Fire Department chaplain.

•Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman, spiritual leader of Union Temple in Prospect Heights and president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

•Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director, Interfaith Center of New York and a frequent participant in events that the Brooklyn-based Dialogue Project sponsors.

•Rev. Stephen Phelps, who served as interim minister at First Presbyterian Church a few years ago, and who is now Interim Senior Minister at Riverside Church in Manhattan.

•Joyce S. Dubensky, CEO of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.

•Aisha H.L. al-Adawiya, founder and chair emerita of Women In Islam.

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