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Calls for unity at interfaith gathering following shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue

The impor­tance of unity — of car­ing for one another — was a mes­sage shared by an over­flow­ing crowd meant to show sol­i­dar­ity with those who were killed and the com­mu­nity that was affected by a deadly shoot­ing at a syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh.

DENVER — A place in Den­ver typ­i­cally used for Jew­ish peo­ple to wor­ship over­flowed with peo­ple of all faiths on Sun­day night. Denver’s Tem­ple Emanuel hosted a sol­i­dar­ity rally fol­low­ing a shoot­ing at Tree of Life Syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh that killed 11 people.

The over­whelm­ing mes­sage from the inter­faith vigil was one of strength, resilience and intol­er­ance of hate.

“Anti-Semitism and any other form of dis­crim­i­na­tion debases our cul­ture, degrades our val­ues,” said Gov­er­nor John Hick­en­looper to Sunday’s crowd.

Among a list of 11 speak­ers was Den­ver Police Chief Paul Pazen and Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz who agreed that vio­lence, like the kind that hap­pened over the week­end in Pitts­burgh and the mass shoot­ings at Columbine High School and a the­ater in Aurora, should never be accepted as the norm.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of com­ing together under these cir­cum­stances,” Metz said. “And like you, I’m not going to become numb to it.”

Col­orado Mus­lim Soci­ety released a state­ment, read by Qusair Mohamedb­hai, express­ing their posi­tion of sup­port for mem­bers of the Jew­ish community.

“Mis­guided peo­ple will always seek ways to destroy the fab­ric of peace, tol­er­ance, and respect that brings this great coun­try together,” the state­ment reads in part. “Col­orado Mus­lims are deter­mined to echo the voices of love and har­mony and stand in firm sol­i­dar­ity with our Jew­ish neigh­bors, friends, and other vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties in the face of big­otry and hate. We pray for their safety and well-being and extend our hands in their support.”

Rabbi Jay Strear with JEW­ISH­col­orado said jus­tice needs to be sought for the shoot­ing he described as a “heinous crime.”

“At the same time, our com­mu­nity can’t be torn apart as a result of that,” Strear said. “We need to come together through peace, love, care and com­pas­sion to ensure that the val­ues of our peo­ple and of our national value as Amer­i­cans are protected.”

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