The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) commemorates and mourns the victims of the horrific attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the profound loss experienced by their friends and families, and throughout America’s diverse communities. We remember and honor the courage and heroism of the first responders who risked their lives in effort to rescue and recover.
Unfortunately, the justified fear and anger brought about by the attacks was in many cases misdirected. We witnessed the marginalization and demonizing of Muslim Americans, including hateful speech and violent actions. As we collectively mourn and remember the victims of 9/11, we must vigilantly ensure that this shared tragedy does not become an opportunity for scapegoating.
Through the establishment of the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative (JMCBI) in the aftermath of 9/11, JCUA has fostered strong relationships between the Jewish and Muslim communities, who have been working together for a decade toward a more inclusive, diverse, and just society. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from his cell in a Birmingham jail, “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The threat of injustice, of discrimination, and of baseless hatred must be confronted through collaborative action for the common good.
JCUA Executive Director Jane Ramsey said that “collaboration must be founded on dialogue, trust, and mutual respect. These are only achieved through direct interaction, whether while studying a sacred text together or while working side by side to combat the foreclosure crisis that is tearing apart our communities.” Rabbi Asher Lopatin, co-chair of the JMCBI advisory committee and JCUA board member, added that “empowering each other by mutually respecting our differences is the spirit on which this country was founded. It is this torch that we must carry forward as we commemorate our darkest times.”