(October 28, 2018 / JNS) Representatives throughout the Arab world issued statements condemning Saturday’s massacre of 11 Jews by an anti-Semitic gunman at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“The Foreign Ministry condemns this terrorist act that targeted a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh,” said the Palestinian Authority in a statement published by the Wafa news agency. “The ministry condemns the targeting of places of worship by these terrorists who hold fascist and rotten beliefs based on the supremacy and dominance of white people.”
“We have received the news with sorrow that many people were killed and injured in an armed attack targeting a synagogue today (27 October) in Pittsburgh, USA,” wrote the Turkish Foreign Ministry in an official statement. “We strongly condemn this heinous attack and express our condolences to the grieving families, the American Jewish community and the people of the United States.”
“The embassy expresses its sincere condolences to the American people and to families of victims of the violent incident at a synagogue in Pittsburgh today,” wrote the Saudi embassy in a statement. “Houses of worship are meant to provide safe and spiritual refuge. Those who desecrate their sanctity attack all humanity.”
The gunman is alleged to be 46-year-old Pittsburgh resident Robert Bowers, who opened fire on the New Light Jewish congregation, one of several prayer groups that holds services at the synagogue.
Worshippers were gathered for Shabbat-morning services and to celebrate a brit milah, the ritual circumcision ceremony that takes place eight days after the birth of a boy.
Yelling “all Jews must die,” Bowers allegedly entered the house of worship with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and three hand guns, shooting at the congregation. He was met with a police presence when he tried to flee the scene, ultimately re-entering the synagogue and barricading himself inside before surrendering.
In social-media posts, Bowers expressed loathing for U.S. President Donald Trump, saying “Trump is surrounded by kikes,” and accused the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to refugees and immigrants, of bringing to America “invaders to kill our people.”
“I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” Bowers wrote in an ominous post just prior to the attacks. “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”