Board of Rabbis Condemn Attack on Mosque


The Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia released a statement in response to an incident Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in which a severed pig's head was left outside.


On Dec. 7, the police, FBI and the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations started an investigation after a severed pig’s head was left in front of the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in North Philadelphia.

The Board of Rabbis has issued a statement in response to the incident:

“The Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia is horrified and saddened by the desecration at Al Aqsa Islamic Society. We denounce the hateful Islamophobic atmosphere in our nation that has led to such a heinous act. The Jewish community knows too well the pain that accompanies an act such as this and we regret that the Muslim community has experienced it as well.

“The Jewish community stands with Imam Muhammad Shehata and his community in solidarity.  We pray for the day when all Americans can truly experience religious freedom.”

These sentiments were also sent in a letter directly to Imam Shehata after the incident.

The letter was also a way to show the mosque its Jewish neighbors’ support, said Rabbi Jill Maderer of Rodeph Shalom.

“I felt — and there was feeling among my rabbinic colleagues — any time another religion feels hurt or feels afraid to be themselves and to practice their own religion in [their] country, we want to be able to show our support,” said Maderer, who serves as co-president of the Board of Rabbis along with Rabbi Howard Alpert.

As Jews, she added, “where we’ve seen this happen to our own people, we’re not strangers to what it means to be victims or afraid.”

The Board of Rabbis is an executive committee, and she said they unanimously approved the letter.

She added that the mosque has received many letters from the Jewish community showing their support.

“They’ve really allowed us to be a part of that connection that’s been created now because we have so many that have showed [support],” she said.

The Jewish community has reached out in other ways to condemn the act, including the Anti-Defamation League who released a statement earlier in the month.

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