Los Angeles Interfaith Leaders Issue Statement on Al-Aqsa Mosque Desecration

April 24, 2023 Statements

As the holy season of Ramadan comes to an end, the undersigned members of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders join in deploring Israeli police violence against peaceful worshipers in the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on two occasions two weeks ago. Freedom of worship is a basic human right. Jerusalem should be a place of peaceful prayer for all who follow in the Abrahamic tradition – Jews, Christians, and Muslims. We especially deplore the desecration occurring as Passover, Holy Week, and Ramadan coincided.

As with the broader struggle between Israelis and Palestinians, the situation on al-Haram al-Sharif/the Temple Mount is tense and complex, with a history of provocation and violence on both sides. But these particular events resulted in indelible images, transmitted all over the world, of worshipers shoved and beaten while at prayer. This was the third consecutive Ramadan when Israeli police harassed Muslim worshipers, though this year’s violence was by far the worst.

Close to home, a suspect was arrested and charged with defacing the Islamic Center of Southern California on Easter Day. We deplore all such acts of hatred, including acts of antisemitism, especially when our neighbors are inflamed by events in the Middle East. No matter how intractable the problems, no matter how remote the prospects for all people in the region enjoying freedom, security, peace, and national self-determination, we resolve, as faith leaders, to continue to stand up for peace and love as the eternal, divinely ordained responses to violence and hatred.

Reverend Linda L. Culbertson – Pacific Presbytery
Archbishop Hovnan Derderian – Western Diocese of the Armenian Church
Randolph Dobbs – Los Angeles Bahá’í Center
Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker – AME Church, Social Action Commission
Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank – California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church
Grant J. Hagiya – Claremont School of Theology
Nirinjan Singh Khalsa – Sikh Community
Omar Ricci – Islamic Center of Southern California
Father Alexei R. Smith – Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Hedab Tarifi – Islamic Center of Southern California
Bishop John Harvey Taylor – Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
Allen Williams – AME Church

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