Concerns that religious violence overseas could escalate in the U.S.


CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The attacks overseas led to protests here in the United States. Even Jewish people, who were demonstrating peacefully and praying in the streets of New York, were assaulted.

West Virginians in the Jewish and Muslim communities say different people need to work on getting along and stop the scapegoating of others.

“After 9/11 we saw that happen to the Muslim community a d the Sikh community. And we saw it recently with COVID-19 and what was happening to the Asian American community. And now we’re seeing the same thing happen here with regards to the Jewish community and what’s going on in the Middle East,” said Rabbi Victor Urecki, B’Nai Jacob Synagogue.

“I have a lot of friends from all kinds of religions, Christians, Jewish, Hindus, atheists. We love each other; we respect each other. If something happened to me, I trust my Christian neighbor or Jewish neighbor to take care of my family,” said Dr. Shadi Abu-Halimah, Palestinian-American physician in Charleston.

Dr. Abu-Halimah says he’s not sure a two-state solution in the Mid East is the answer. But Rabbi Urecki, believes that’s the path to lasting peace.

On the other hand, the two men agree, that politicians need to stop fanning the flames by saying provocative things. A Georgia Congresswoman recently said that COVID-19 mask-wearing mandates were akin to the Holocaust.

“It poisons the dialogue. I poisons our ability to have honest conversation. And that is really the start of the problems that we have,” said Rabbi Urecki.

“Don’t bring Holocaust into the mask thing. It’s completely wrong,” said Dr. Abu-Halimah.

Leaders in Charleston’s faith community meet regularly and have even done joint prayers to open in the legislature.

According to the people I spoke with, as far as they know, there have been no recent events of anti-somatic violence or vandalism, in West Virginia.

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