Statement of Support for our Jewish and Muslim Neighbors

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of DeKalb (UUCD) extends our support to all our Jewish and Muslim neighbors during this time of pain, sorrow, and fear.

 At UUCD we are heartbroken by all the killing and carnage suffered both by Israelis on October 7, and by Palestinians of the Gaza Strip.

 UUCD also acknowledges that the conflict in Israel is having harmful affects on our Muslim and Jewish neighbors here in our home. The Anti-Defamation League reports that there has been a 400% increase in antisemitic instances in the U.S. since October 7. There also was a violent attack in nearby Plainfield where a Palestinian-American mother and her six-year-old son were brutally attacked and stabbed in their own homes. The little boy died from his wounds.

 We extend our hand of support and comfort to all. We believe everyone deserves to be safe from hatred and vile attacks in their own homes. At UUCD we believe everyone of all faiths belongs and deserve to feel safe.

 In keeping with the UUCD mission statement we work to “stop oppression, while offering love and hope for all,” we call on our elected officials to do all they can to bring “humanitarian pauses” to the ongoing war. Over 10,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed, including over 4,000 children. We ask that all that the fighting be paused so innocent people can receive care, food, water. We also call for all hostages to be released. 

 As Unitarian Universalists, we will continue to witness against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and to stand on the side of love. In the words of the Unitarian Universalist Assocation President Rev. Sofia Betancourt, Ph.D.: “We are one global family living tenuously on the same human-impacted Earth. Let us center ourselves in justice as we call for peace.”

 Our role as a people of faith is to be clear about our values and to center love for all our neighbors, especially during a humanitarian crisis. We commit ourselves to do all we can to support those who are closest to the violence as we continue to hold hope for a peaceful future. And we remain dedicated to doing all we can to be advocates for safety and wellbeing in every part of the world.

November 16, 2023

Background and Context

Unitarian Universalism and the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

 Unitarian Universalists, with over 1000 liberal religious congregations in the United States and beyond, covenant to promote core values and principles, which include support for a world community with peace, liberty and justice for all. As UUs, we affirm our mutual humanity and interdependence, and join with interfaith and human rights groups calling for respect of international law and protection of civilians. We declare that when vengeance repays vengeance, it becomes an escalating and inescapable cycle of violence.

 Within our UU faith communities, we have members who come from Jewish and Muslim traditions, and members who have direct ties to the Middle East. The unspeakable acts of violence from the past few weeks have been felt directly and personally by many in our congregations. We pray for the safety of those who remain in harm’s way and mourn those whose lives have been lost in this most recent wave of bloodshed.

 Amid this pain and grief, our faith community has historically sought to embrace the full nuance and complexity of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. We believe that a lasting peaceful solution to this conflict which has claimed so many lives must be rooted in justice and humanitarian principles. We are founding members for Churches for Middle East Peace, alongside other religious groups with historical roots in the Christian tradition.

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