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Statement on Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans and the Atlanta Shooting

March 19, 2021

The Parliament of the World’s Religions condemns the violent and racist attack perpetrated in Cherokee County and Atlanta against the Asian American community that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent. Our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers for the victims and their families of this horrific attack.

While authorities still investigate the nature of the crime, we cannot ignore the hate and xenophobia which has motivated the increase in violence against the Asian American community. The Parliament of the World’s Religions is committed to a culture of non-violence and respect for life, as agreed upon in our signature document Towards A Global Ethic.

To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religious and ethical traditions means that in public as well as in private life we must be concerned for others and ready to help. We must never be ruthless and brutal. Every people, every race, every religion must show tolerance and respect–indeed high appreciation–for every other.”

– Towards A Global Ethic: A Declaration of the Parliament of the World’s Religions

A Recognition of the Hate & Violence

There has been much debate regarding the nature of the shooting but what cannot be debated is that Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the United States and countless victims of Asian descent around the world have faced growing attacks of hate speech, harassment, violence, and domestic terrorism. Rampant racism against these communities, which has existed for generations, has been made worse by the ignorant views that they are to blame for the COVID-19 pandemic.

We cannot continue to ignore the hate, violence, and terrorism that the community is facing. We invite friends and colleagues in the interfaith movement and all peoples everywhere to commit to actions of peace, love, and understanding as antidotes to all acts of hatred and violence.

A Call to the Media

It has also been clear that there have been significant failures by the media to acknowledge the basic dignity of the victims. Media portrayals shape views around the world, and it is critical that they focus on the victims rather than the perpetrators.

We call upon media companies to create fair and moral policies that respect the dignity of the communities and victims of violence.

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