Associated Ministries press release.
On October 24, 2021, there was an arson attack on a Catholic church in Tacoma. This followed the recent arson attack at a mosque in Tacoma; break-in and vandalism at a Mountlake Terrace mosque, and at a Federal Way Sikh gurudwara; aggravated assault on a Buddhist nun outside a Buddhist temple in Tacoma; and vandalism at Catholic churches in Seattle. In light of this rash of attacks on places that should be sanctuaries of peace, faith leaders will gather in Tacoma on October 31, 2021, at 2pm, to condemn the violence and emphasize a message of resilience, unity and solidarity. Speakers will include leaders from some of the targeted houses of worship, along with other faith, community and elected leaders including Congressman Derek Kilmer. On Sunday, October 24, an early morning suspicious fire later identified as arson caused significant damage to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish in Tacoma. Other recent attacks on places of worship include the following:
- October 19, 2021 – break-in and attack on religiously-significant material at Masjid Umar Al-Farooq (the mosque at Mountlake Terrace)
- October 11, 2021 – fire identified as arson at Islamic Center of Tacoma
- October 10, 2021 – vandalism at St. Edward Church in Seattle
- September 21, 2021 – aggravated assault on Buddhist nun at Khmer Theravadin Buddhist Temple in Tacoma
- September 17, 2021– break-in and attack on religiously significant material on Khalsa Gurmat Center in Federal Way
- September 12, 2021 – arson at Greater Christ Temple Church (The Oasis of Hope Center) in Tacoma
- August 2021 – vandalism at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Seattle
To address these attacks (which add to other prior attacks on mosques, synagogues, temples, churches, and more), faith leaders across the region will join in a showing of solidarity to condemn any targeting of houses of worship and to make clear that an attack on one is an attack on all. Registration for the event is at www.tinyurl.com/InterfaithSolidarity. This gathering is sponsored by the Muslim Association of Puget Sound-American Muslim Empowerment Network (MAPS-AMEN), Islamic Center of Tacoma, Associated Ministries, and the Faith Action Network. “Any attack on a place of worship is gut-wrenching for people of faith,” said Aneelah Afzali, Executive Director of MAPS-AMEN. “The number of recent attacks is both alarming and deeply painful. But our love, faith, and resilience will only strengthen, and we will use each such incident as an opportunity to build even stronger bonds with each other.” “Let the fire of hate enlighten the path of love and unity,” added Dr. AbdulHakim Mohamed, Imam and Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Tacoma. Michael Yoder, Executive Director of Associated Ministries, stated: “The situation we face is concerning, but I believe this is yet another opportunity for us to act in unity as local faith leaders and to be the agents of restoration and peace that we are called to be. I encourage all faith leaders to join us.”
- WHAT – Attacks on Places of Worship: Interfaith Solidarity Gathering
- WHEN – Sunday, October 31, 2:00pm to 3:00pm
- WHERE – Tacoma Community College, 6501 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98466, Bldg. 2, Auditorium (closest parking is available in Lots H and G)
- ATTIRE – Faith leaders are asked to wear attire reflective of their religious tradition.
COVID GUIDELINES: The facility regulations require all guests to be fully vaccinated for this indoor event, and masks will be required.