IN FOCUS Discussion: Fighting antisemitism and islamophobia

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – During a time when a wide variety of issues are creating division, violence, and hate among our community, leaders of two local organizations collaborated to show unity and condemn hate.

They wanted to show that despite the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza, their communities could still “extend a hand in love and friendship with one another.”

The act of solidarity came after a vandal carved a swastika into the glass door of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah synagogue in Salt Lake City last month. Rabbi Samuel Spector of Congregation Kol Ami wanted to find a way to alleviate the pain, fear, and isolation that his congregants and community members were feeling.

Thinking that those belonging to the Muslim community may be feeling the same way due to the uptick in islamophobia, he reached out to Luna Banuri with the Utah Muslim Civic League. Together, they rallied nearly two dozen other local organizations, both Jewish and Muslim, to sign off a joint statement of support and unity with one another.

In the statement, they wrote, “This is painful, personal, and emotional for our communities on many levels. However, it is important to remember that local Muslims and Jews are not combatants nor enemies, rather they’re our neighbors. We resoundingly reject any acts of violence or destruction towards Muslims, Jews, or their places of communal gathering and worship.”

Rabbi Spector and Banuri joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion about their collaboration, what they hope to accomplish through their act of solidarity, and their efforts in encouraging the public to speak out against antisemitism and islamophobia.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Rabbi Spector and Banuri, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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