Shaykh Yasir’s Speech at the Tree of Life Synagogue Vigil
Good afternoon. In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful. To Him we belong, and to Him we shall return. We ask Him to send His peace and blessings upon all of the righteous prophets of God from Abraham, to Moses, to Jesus, to Muhammad.
Brothers and sisters, the Sabbath in the Jewish tradition is meant to be a day of observance, a day of abstinence and a day of introspection. That is what it is meant to be.
But sadly and tragically yesterday, for our brothers and sisters in the Jewish tradition who were in a Synagogue, in a place of sacred worship, had to be victims of a vile hatred, a disease that is embedded unfortunately in many hearts, of racism, of antisemitism, of xenophobia, of bigotry. These are diseases sadly that are rooted in many of us. These are diseases that reflect and manifest in the most vile of ways unfortunately.
What we saw yesterday was a vile act of terrorism against our brothers and sisters in the Jewish faith. What I want us to do this afternoon is I want us to engage in our own individual sabbath, to take a moment to introspect, to think, and to reflect upon our own conditions because sadly, the rhetoric, the propaganda, the ideas that have seeped into so many of our spaces are tearing us apart, and they are manifesting in the ugliest of ways.
We have to know with certainty, that as human beings we are inherently good. We don’t need to hate. We don’t need to be separated. We don’t need to attack one another. We don’t need to fear each other. That is not at the essence of our human condition.
When the angels asked God: God, are you going to be place on this earth those who are going to sow corruption and spill blood? He said: I know what you not know. God knows something about our nature.
I want to say something to the Jewish community: as a Muslim I love you. As a Muslim, my back in your back. As a Muslim, my shoulder is your shoulder. And as a Muslim, my chest is your chest. We have to drown out the propaganda. We can’t be taught and told that we are not meant to live with one another. We cannot be taught and told that for I to survive, you must die. That is a toxic rhetoric. For someone to walk into a sacred space, a Synagogue, and say that all Jews must die, that is a lost soul, that has been infused with demonic impulses. We need a prophetic spirit to drown out that darkness. We need to walk in the footsteps of our righteous predecessors who knew a thing or two about mercy, compassion, and love. That’s what we need. We need to revive those spirits we need to educate ourselves and our children. We need to love one another and hear one another with deep empathy. Because we all want the same thing. We all want the same thing.
And I want to give a parting message to my young Jewish brothers and sisters. As I would teach in my own congregation I want to tell you this: today wear your yarmulke a bit tighter, don’t let anyone tell you to fear your faith, to fear being a Jew. Don’t ever let anyone tell you to cower. As I would tell my own congregation to wear their hijab tighter, or their kufi tighter, I tell you to wear your yarmulke tighter. Be confident, be strong, hold your head high. And we are with you. Millions of Muslims across the world are with you. And I promise you that, and I know that. And that’s what we were taught growing up. May God bless us and bless all of our communities.