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Letter: Offer welcoming hand to people of all faiths

Offer welcoming hand to people of all faiths

As leaders in America’s faith community, our institutions do not engage in partisan politics. We do, however, speak to important moral and ethical issues facing our nation.

In this spirit, we write to express in the strongest possible terms our deep disappointment and disgust with the proposal made by Donald Trump to stop allowing Muslims to enter the United States.

Our faith traditions demand that we extend a welcoming hand to those in need. America is an immigrant nation. We know that many have come to our country, and continue to do so, seeking religious freedom and an end to persecution. This is true for Syrian refugees fleeing the Islamic State today, and many others displaced by war, conflict and disaster.

We remember that too many religious leaders stood silent as Jews fled Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. In fact, some religious leaders and politicians argued that Jews should not be allowed into the United States during that period. In that same time frame, too many religious leaders stood silent as Japanese-Americans were interned into camps as their patriotism was questioned. Bigotry and discrimination prevailed.

Muslims serve this nation in offices of public service, in our armed forces, in law enforcement, and as community builders. These are our neighbors, our friends, and children of God.

We cannot remain silent as political leaders seek to divide Americans along religious lines for partisan gain. Trump’s language and proposals serve only to divide our nation and to bring comfort to the Islamic State and its allies.

As leaders of many faiths we ask that Trump reflect on his proposals and repudiate those he has made, that our country may be a beacon of hope and not fear. Nearly 50 faith leaders have signed onto this letter. To see them all go to trumpresponse.blogspot.com.

Most Rev. Richard J. Malone

Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Buffalo

Dr. Khalid Qazi

Founding President, Muslim Public Affairs Council of WNY

Rev. Kirk Laubenstein

Executive Director, Coalition for Economic Justice