-—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—-
NEW YORK, NY (June 18, 2015) – The Islamic Circle of North America outright condemns the racially motivated terror attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., in which suspected gunmen, Dylan Roof, killed six women and three men during a Bible Study.
Race-inspired terrorist attacks against sacred spaces of African Americans, particularly churches, has unfortunately been a continuous part of African American religious history since the late 1800s when Black Christians separated from White denominations due to racial hostility and formed their own churches.
One of the most despicable episodes of racist terror occurred on September 15, 1963 when four Ku Klux Klan members bombed 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama killing four young African American girls as they left their Sunday School Classes.
Arson attacks against African American churches occurred in astounding numbers during the mid-1990s. Over 30 African American southern churches were targeted and many burnt to the ground. The racially motivated arson continued even on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated as the nation’s first Black president. Terrorists set an African American church on fire and it was severely damaged.
The Wednesday shooting at the Black Church is the deadliest attack on an American house of worship since 1991.
“We call upon all faith communities to resoundingly denounce hateful, violent attacks of terror,” said Naeem Baig, president of ICNA. “Regardless of their race, ethnicity, or national origin, our houses of worship in America should be places of peace and security.”
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.