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Reform Jewish Movement Applauds FBI for Its Swift Investigation of Terrorism Plot Against Muslim Institutions

Saperstein: "As we fight terrorism abroad, we must fight terrorism in our own country."

Contact:Alexis Rice 202-387-2800

WASHINGTON, December 13, 2001 - Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement in response to the arrest of two members of the Jewish Defense League in connection with a failed bombing plot against Muslim organizations and mosques in California:

We commend the diligent work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office for moving swiftly in investigating the bombing plot against Muslim organizations, mosques and the office of an Arab-American member of Congress. As we fight terrorism abroad, we must fight terrorism in our own country. And we must act aggressively, as the FBI did here, to stop terrorist attacks before they happen.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against America, there have been numerous incidents of violence and harassment against Arab Americans, Muslim Americans and other individuals, organizations, or groups that are perceived to be of Middle Eastern descent, including last weekend's attack on a local Islamic Center in Concord, California. We unequivocally denounce all such hate crimes.

That the alleged perpetuators appear to be engaging in such reprehensible activities under a "Jewish" banner is of added concern to us. The JDL has long been a pariah organization in American Jewish life. Let us be clear: hate crimes are anathema to Jewish values and the Jewish tradition.

The members of the Jewish Defense League arrested yesterday are, of course, innocent until proven guilty. We urge that the investigation and prosecution proceed both judiciously and expeditiously.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis .



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