“Now this is a hate crime,” said a graffiti on the front door of the Islamic School of Rhode Island. The vandalism appeared a day after the school held a vigil for three Muslim students who were killed in north Carolina last week, reports the Providence Journal.
In response to the vandalism, the Humanists of Rhode Island released this statement, which puts the vandalism that happened here in Rhode Island in the context of recent hate crimes against Muslim Americans:
The Humanists of Rhode Island (HRI) decry the recent vandalism of the Islamic School of Rhode Island. We wish to join our voices with the chorus of citizens, religious or not, denouncing violence and hate crimes that serve only to divide our community.
Steve Ahlquist, President of the Humanists of Rhode Island, said, “Roger Williams, the founder of our state, expressly invited all people of good conscience to participate in our secular government, regardless of their religious beliefs. Ours was the first democratic government to expressly invite Pagans, Jews, Muslims and atheists to be free citizens in the new world. This is our heritage. It is a legacy we should protect and be proud of.”
The Humanists of Rhode Island believe that recent events, such the murder of the three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the burning of the Islamic School in Houston, Texas and now the vandalism of the Islamic School here in Rhode Island, demonstrate the need for a renewed commitment to our values of inclusion, freedom of conscience, and civil discourse.
In this spirit, the Humanists of Rhode Island stand in solidarity with the Islamic community to oppose hate and violence.