Faith, government leaders condemn threat to Jewish Community Center of St. Paul
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Feb. 21, 2017) — St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and City Councilmember Chris Tolbert condemned the individuals or group that made a bomb threat Monday targeting the Jewish Community Center on St. Paul Avenue and Davern Street.
The statement read that the incident was something to fear – but also demonstrated the strength of the community in quickly responding to condemn the action and to support the Jewish Community Center. More than 190 children and staff were evacuated as police and firefighters worked to locate a possible explosive and determined the threat was false.
“While no one was physically hurt, we know that it will take time for you and your children to feel safe,” the statement read. “Know that your safety is our top priority and our law enforcement personnel will remain vigilant in the days and weeks ahead as we seek out those responsible,
The statement added that these types of actions have no place in Saint Paul or in the United States. The two said the nation is feeling the weight of division, but now more than ever we must support each other to move forward.
“We will stand in solidarity with the Jewish community against any who try to sow the seeds of hate in our midst,” the statement said.
The Minnesota Council of Churches followed with a similar message on Tuesday.
“Actions that threaten violence and create terror in the hearts of people who are targeted are abhorrent in the eyes of Christ,” said Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches.
“We at the Minnesota Council of Churches refuse to be idle while our Jewish brothers and sisters are being targeted,” he said. “Minnesota and the United States have recently seen an uptick in anti-Semitism – numerous acts of graffiti, signs on the University of Minnesota campus. We denounce anti-Semitism and stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters as they walk in their faith.
“Late last year we encouraged readers of our News for the Common Good newsletter to report evidence of hate speech by partnering with Human Rights Watch and using their cell phones,” Chemberlin said. “Fear-inducing gestures like yesterday’s bomb threat at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center remind us of the need to be vigilant against hate and anti-Semitism. We call upon all Minnesotans to stand against actions that demonize or terrorize our Jewish friends and neighbors. We continue urging Minnesotans to report hate speech and anti-Semitism wherever it may be found.”
The Minnesota Council of Churches’ mission is to manifest unity in the church and to build the common good in the world. The Minnesota Council of Churches programs align with three broad categories: welcoming refugees, mobilizing the faith community to engage in public policy, and strengthening communities through relationships and understanding. For more information, visit www.mnchurches.org