American Muslims have condemned the fatal shooting at a Kansas Jewish community center in which three Jews were killed, showing solidarity with victims’ families against “extremist ideologies”.
“American Muslims join their fellow citizens in standing in solidarity with the American Jewish community in condemning this deadly hate attack and in offering condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement obtained by Onislam.net on Sunday, April 13.
“We are saddened by this vicious act of hatred.
“Americans of all faiths must join together to reject the kind of extremist ideologies that can lead to such inexcusable and unconscionable acts,” it added.
On Sunday, a gunman shot dead three people at two Jewish facilities in the Midwestern American state of Kansas.
The suspect, 73-year-old white male, was a former senior member of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan movement.
“We know it’s a vicious act of violence. Obviously two Jewish facilities, one might make that assumption,” Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said in a news conference, Reuters reported.
The two consecutive attacks targeted the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park where two males were shot and the Village Shalom retirement community where a woman was fatally shot.
A 14-year-old high school freshman was among the victims as well as his grandfather.
After being arrested, the suspect had yelled “Heil Hitler”, according to eyewitness. However, the police chief couldn’t confirm this.
“The suspect in the back of a car made several statements,” Douglass said.
Muslims of Greater Kansas City community have also shared their condolences after the fatal shooting.
“The Muslims of Greater Kansas City are deeply shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shootings, which resulted in deaths and injuries,” the group said in a statement obtained by local NBC television affiliate KSHB.
“We are deeply saddened and distressed by this cowardly act which targeted innocent people. May the families of the victims have the forbearance and may the inflicted recover from their injuries quickly.”
Investigating the fatal shooting as a hate-crime, security officials said that it was “too early to determine if Sunday’s killings were motivated by anti-Semitism.”
“We haven’t ruled out anything,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Kaste told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Monday, April 14.
“I don’t want to say the terrorism word; this is three hours into it. It’s only wise and prudent we use every resource we have.”
Offering condolences to the families of the victims, US President Barack Obama said: “While we do not know all of the details … the initial reports are heartbreaking.”
“I have asked my team to stay in close touch with our federal, state and local partners and provide the necessary resources to support the ongoing,” he added.
The shocked Jewish community has expressed fears after the deadly shooting.
“The thought of something like that happening is terrifying,” said David Wainestock, who rushed to the Jewish Community Center to retrieve his 16-year-old daughter who had been among the people temporarily locked down.
“In the Midwest we think we’re safe from this type of thing. But I guess it doesn’t make any difference now.”
“Everybody is shocked that it would happen here,” said Glickman,” said Rabbi David Glickman, of the Beth Shalom synagogue in Overland Park.
“This is a community that enjoys very strong and positive relations between the Jewish community and the rest of the community.”
Interfaith ties between American Muslim and Jewish leaders have a history of successes.
Though there are no official figures, America is believed to be home to nearly eight million Muslims.
A 2010 report of the North American Jewish Data Bank puts the number of Jews in the US at around 6.5 million.