Rejecting Hate: Statement of Interfaith Solidarity Against Islamophobia in Massachusetts

As Boston-area religious and cultural leaders, we are committed to building a community that embraces people of different beliefs and practices, including our Muslim neighbors and friends. This work is particularly important in the present political climate, in which some public figures are voicing messages of intolerance and xenophobia, pitting segments of the American populace against one another.

It is for this reason that we are deeply concerned to learn of an event scheduled for November 2nd in Stoughton featuring three speakers whom the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as anti-Muslim extremists or hate group leaders. Jerry Boykin, Frank Gaffney, and Tom Trento cast Islam as an inherently immoral faith, and spread conspiracy theories that Muslims are secretly infiltrating US and European governments as a “fifth column.”

For example, Mr. Gaffney has claimed that “most of the Muslim-American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution,” and Mr. Boykin has argued that “We need to realize that Islam itself is not just a religion – it is a totalitarian way of life. … It should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with Sharia law.”  This inflammatory rhetoric has no factual basis and directly fuels anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes.

Our houses of worship should be spaces for prayer, reflection, study, and community building.  While free political debate is a vital element in our democracy, voices that demonize ethnic, racial, or faith groups have no place in our sanctuaries.

As clergy and organizational leaders seeking to cultivate a shared ethos of interreligious and cross-cultural cooperation, we the undersigned reach out to and call on Congregation Ahavath Torah to revoke their invitation to these individuals, all known purveyors of vitriol and acrimony. They, and the gross misinformation in which they traffic, are not deserving of a platform in our community.

In Peace,

Rev. Lois Adams – First Baptist Church of Sharon

Professor Rachel Adelman – Hebrew College

Fr. Jack Ahern – St. Mary Parish in Randolph

Rev. John Allen – First Congregational Church of Milton

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen – Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, Dean, The Rabbinical School of Hebrew College

Rev. Dr. Jim Antal – Minister and President, Massachusetts Conference, UCC

Marya Axner – New England Jewish Labor Committee

Dr. Angela Bauer-Levesque, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean; Harvey H. Guthrie Jr. Professor of Bible, Culture, and Interpretation Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Rabbi Howard A. Berman, Central Reform Temple, Boston

Rev. Eliza Blanchard – First Parish of Brookline

Rev. Beverly Boke – First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Canton

Rev. Dr. Christian Brocato – Rector, Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, Cambridge

Rev. Jeffrey Brown – Twelfth Baptist Church

Sister Marie-Thérèse Browne, SCN, Roman Catholic Sister

Rev. Rebecca Bryan – First Parish in Brookline

Rev. Dr. Karin Case – First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, UCC

Rev. Arrington Chambliss – Executive Director, Episcopal City Mission

Rev. Rebecca Cho – First United Methodist Church, Stoughton, MA

Fr.  Brian Clary – Saint Mary of the Assumption, Brookline

Rev. Rainey G. Dankel – Associate Rector, Trinity Church in the City of Boston

Rev. Dr. Christopher Duraisingh – Professor Emeritus, Episcopal Divinity School

Rev. John Edgerton – Old South Church, Boston

Cantor Roy Einhorn – Temple Israel, Boston

Michael Felson – Executive Director Emeritus, Boston Workmen’s Circle

Rev. Kent French, Senior Pastor, The United Parish in Brookline

Rabbi Ronne Friedman – Senior Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Israel of Boston

Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman – Temple Sinai of Brookline

Joseph Gerson – American Friends Service Committee, New England Region

Rev Marlene Gil – Associate Executive Minister for Church Relations, American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts

Rabbi Neal Gold – Temple Shir Tikva

Rabbi Eric Gurvis – Senior Rabbi, Temple Shalom

Rev. Dr. Ray A. Hammond – Senior Pastor, Bethel AME Church

Rev. Wendy Vander Hart, Associate Conference Minister, MA Conference, United Church of Christ

Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie – Senior Minister, Arlington Street Church (Unitarian Universalist)

Rabbi/Cantor Anne Heath – Congregation Agudath Achim

Rabbi Suzie Jacobson – Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi David Jaffe, The Kirva Institute, Sharon, MA

Rabbi Howard L. Jaffe – Temple Isaiah, Lexington

Rev. Laura Ruth Jarrett – Senior Pastor, Hope Central Church, Jamaica Plain

Rev. Edwin Johnson – St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Dorchester

Rabbi Randy Kafka – Temple Kol Tikvah, Sharon

Alice Kidder, Clerk, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries

Rev. Dr. David A. Killian – President, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries

Jen Kiok – Executive Director, Boston Workmen’s Circle

Idit Klein, Executive Director, Keshet

Rabbi Claudia Kreiman – Temple Beth Zion, Brookline

Rabbi Judith Kummer – Jewish Chaplaincy Council of Massachusetts

Rabbi Allan Lehmann – Hebrew College

Rabbi Ben Lanckton – Community Tikkun Leil Shavuot

Rabbi David Lerner, Temple Emunah, Lexington; President, Massachusetts Board of Rabbis

Rev. Rosemary Lloyd – The Conversation Project

Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd – Rector, Trinity Church in the City of Boston

Rev. Rob Mark – Church of the Covenant, Boston

Rabbi Emily Mathis – Temple Beth Avodah

Rev. Michael McGarry, C.S.P. – Director, The Paulist Center

Rev. Kathleen McTigue – UU College of Social Justice

Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman, Senior Scholar, Temple Israel, Boston,

Rabbi Margot Meitner – The Meeting Point, Jamaica Plain

Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brookline

Rabbi Jeremy S. Morrison – Temple Israel of Boston

Fr. Jerry Morrow SCP — Rector, Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Sharon

Dr. Vito Nicastro, A.D., E.&I. – Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

Professor Padraic O’Hare – Founder, Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College

Rev. Gerald J. Osterman – Immaculate Conception Parish

Riva Pearson – President, Boston Workmen’s Circle

Rabbi Barbara Penzner – Temple Hillel B’nai Torah

Rev. Mary Perry – First Congregational Church of Stoughton, UCC

Rev. Oscar J. Pratt, II – St. Katharine Drexel Parish

Fr. Rocco Puopolo, s.x. – Xaverian Missionaries

Rev. Cristina Rathbone – Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston

Rabbi Victor Reinstein – Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue

Rev. Don Remick, Associate Conference Minister, Massachusetts Conference UCC

Rev. Doug Robinson–Johnson – United Parish of Auburndale

Rev. Dr. Rodney Petersen – Executive Director, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries

Rabbi Or Rose – Miller Center for Interreligious Learning and Leadership, Hebrew College

Rabbi Sonia Saltzman – Temple Ohabei Shalom

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy – Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker Community

Rabbi Rachel Schoenfeld – Shir Hadash

Rabbi Michael Shire – Hebrew College

Rev. Dr. Paul Shupe, Hancock United Church of Christ (Congregational), Lexington

Rev. Daniel Smith, Senior Minister, First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, UCC

Rabbi Matthew Soffer – Associate Rabbi, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Toba Spitzer – Vice President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis

Rev. Burns Stanfield – President, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and Pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church, South Boston

Rabbi Keith Stern, Temple Beth Avodah

The Very Rev. John P. Streit, Jr. – Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston

Cantor Jodi Sufrin – Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley

Rev. Stacy Swain – Union Church in Waban

Rev. Nancy Taylor – Senior Minister and CEO, Old South Church, Boston

Rabbi David Thomas – Congregation Beth El

Rabbi Andrew Vogel – Temple Sinai Brookline

Rabbi Moshe Waldoks – Temple Beth Zion

Rev. Liz Walker – Roxbury Presbyterian Church

Joanna Ware – Director of Special Projects, Keshet

Rev. Gretchen Weis – Murray Unitarian Universalist Church

Rev. Margaret L. Weis – Bell Street Chapel

Rabbi Ora Weiss – Congregation Beth Hatikvah

Rev. Dr. Donald A. Wells – Theologian in Residence, Old South Church, Boston

Rev. Joseph M. White – St Joseph Catholic, Boston

Sr. Ann Whittaker – Sister of Charity of Nazareth

Rev. Elizabeth Williams – Pastor, Wollaston Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Rev. Jay Williams – Union United Methodist Church, Boston

Rabbi Elaine Zecher – Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel, Boston

* Please note: The institutional listings are for identification purposes only, and do not necessarily represent organizational endorsements.  While many other individuals expressed interest at signing on, the list was limited to those in local leadership roles.