More than 500 pack COS temple to show support for Pittsburgh victims

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More than 500 people gathering at Temple Shalom Monday night to honor the 11 people killed at Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh on Saturday. 

Many saying this attack was not only on the 11 people and other injured but also attacking a fundamental right our country was built on “freedom of religion.” 

At Temple Shalom there was standing room only, people even sitting on the floor to show their support.

“Jews, Christians,  Muslims, Republicans, Democrats across the spectrum to say it’s enough with hate speech,” said Rabbi of Temple Shalom, Jay Sherwood. 

While a Pittsburgh community healing from violence, hundreds in Colorado Springs leaving their biases at the door. 

“They are not here to support Temple Shalom because it didn’t happen here. They are here to support, of course, the folks at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, but they are also here to support the idea of getting rid of hate speech,” said Sherwood. 

A local member of the Jewish community Michael Freeman said he’s saddened by the attacks but not surprised.   

“It’s nothing new to us in our community,” said Freeman.  

“It’s important to support one another in times like this,” said Nawal Shahril with the Islamic Society of Colorado Springs.  

Leaders from Solid Rock Christian Center and Islamic Society of Colorado Springs among those faith groups denouncing hate.   

“We need to get rid of this growing hate, growing antisemitism, growing anti-black, anti-LGBT.” said Sherwood. “I don’t care what comes after the dash we need to get rid of the “anti-.”

Colorado Springs has seen five confirmed hate crimes this year alone and similar numbers in the past few years, according to CSPD.  

Nation-wide numbers from the FBI show after racial hate crimes, religious hate crimes are the second most common and of hate crimes motivated by religious bias more than 54 percent of those are anti-Semitic.  

“People are scared,” said Rabbi Sherwood. 

People are scared because it can happen anywhere, not just to other Jewish communities.  

“It could be my family it could be my relatives, my friends, it can be anybody you know. We never know,” said Shahril.  

“We finally can come together as a religious community, without worrying about our religious biases,” Freeman said.  

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers issued a statement Monday afternoon about the shooting saying:

“This was a tragic weekend in our nation where we saw reprehensible hate crimes against the black and Jewish communities including an attack and an attempted attack on two places of worship. Such crimes are disgusting acts of cowardice and I want to personally express my deepest condolences to all who grieve; both here in Colorado Springs and across the nation.  The Constitution of the United States expressly protects our right to religious freedom and the City of Colorado Springs is committed to upholding that precious right. Let it be known that this city will not tolerate acts of racial, religious or ethnic prejudice and those who would commit such acts will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

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