PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nearly 200 Interfaith leaders from several religions gathered at the Lutheran Seminary in the Germantown section of Philadelphia to stand in solidarity after vandals toppled more than 100 tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in the city’s Wissinoming section.
People from all backgrounds have stood up in solidarity, supporting the Jewish community in the wake of this vandalism, including some in the Muslim community like Salaam Bahatti, who says his community knows what it is like to be targeted.READ MORE: Pool Season In Philadelphia Area Could Take Nosedive Thanks To Looming Chlorine Tablet Shortage
“Any targeting of any faith is an attack on all faiths, so we can’t just sit back and say, ‘Oh they are Jewish people’ we are Muslims we are okay because if they come for the Jews they will come for us soon enough,” Bahatti said.
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia CEO Naomi Adler says they are planning a community-wide rally at noon on Thursday at Independence Mall for a “Stand Against Hate” event.
“We are naming the hate, and we will not stand for it anymore,” said Adler.
She says every headstone and grave marker will be replaced or repaired.
Bishop Claire Burkat, of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, says they “stand in unity.”
“The tombstone desecration at Mt. Carmel Jewish Cemetery is a kind of spiritual violence that must be stopped and denounced by all people who abhor the hate-filled antisemitism that is escalating,” Burkat said.READ MORE: Taste With Tori: Thoughtful Details Sprout Off Every Table, Plate At 1906 At Longwood Gardens
Monsignor Daniel Kutys, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, read a statement on behalf of Archbishop Charles Chaput, who had a prior commitment in New York.
“Join in prayerful solidarity with the families of those whose final resting places have been disturbed. Violence and hate against anyone, simply because of who they are, is inexcusable,” Monsignor Kutys read.
Imam Anwar Muhaimin of the Quba Masjid says “any act of intolerance – which we’re seeing a lot of today – is something that goes against the spirit of the city that we all know and love.”
“I wanted to stand against the bigotry, intolerance, antisemitism and Islamophobia. We are all in this together, and I pray that God’s power is with us,” said Muhaimin.
Mayor Jim Kenney believes the good will prevail.
“I think there are good people overwhelming, there are more good people overwhelming than there are rotten hating idiots. And I think I the end the good will prevail,” said the mayor.MORE NEWS: Jefferson Hospital Nurse Who Ended Up Patient After Blister On Foot Gets Infected Honored During National Nurses Week