Our Community Responds to the Charleston Tragedy


The Sikh Community of Metropolitan Detroit expresses its deepest condolences to the families and victims of the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  This is a tragic and horrific hate crime. We stand in solidarity with the entire African-American community.

We share your grief at being targeted simply for who you are and we are heartbroken that this occurred in a place of prayer, peace and love The way forward will be through prayer, peace and love and will not allow hate and violence to be victorious. This helped the Sikh community heal and galvanize in the wake of the terrorism at Oak Creek in 2012 and we hope the same for the African American community

Area Gurdwaras will be including the victims in their congregational prayers this weekend.

Gurdwara Sahib Mata Tripta

Sikh Society of Michigan

Imams Council of the MMCC condemns the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, S.C.

The Imams Council of the Michigan Muslim Community Council expresses its deep sadness for the loss of nine innocent lives shot allegedly by Dylann Roof while they were peacefully worshipping at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, S.C.

We emphatically condemn this act of terror where the perpetrator willfully targeted the African American community out of what appears to be hate toward blacks. We reject the arrogance inherent in the espousal of supremacy in any form.

We are extremely concerned as we begin the first day of Ramadan, a month of fasting and reflection. Imam Steve Mustapha Elturk, the co-Chair of the Imams Council said, “Our mosques are full of congregants during nightly prayers, a ritual observed throughout the entire month of Ramadan, and with heightened Islamophobia we are concerned that a similar incident might take place in our mosques.”

Racism against any group of people is an abomination that should never be tolerated. We stand in solidarity with the African American community and all people of conscience against any form of racism.

On behalf of the Imams Council, and the Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC, an umbrella organization representing Muslims in Michigan), we offer our condolences to the families of the victims. May God Almighty grant those who lost their loved ones the much needed patience and perseverance as they deal with this sad tragedy.

Imam Mohammad Elahi

Imam Mustapha Elturk

MMCC’s Imams’ Council Co-chairs

The leadership and devotees of Bharatiya Temple of Metropolitan Detroit are devastated beyond imagination by such a terrible, heinous and unwarranted attack on worshipers at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. We all share their grief, and stand in sympathy and solidarity with the Mother Emanuel community. May the Almighty provide strength to the families of all victims and grant eternal peace to the departed souls.

We all must work together to find the root cause of such violence and try to eradicate it with education, respecting for our neighbors regardless of their race or faith. All religions are beautiful and teach us to love and respect each other. For Hindus, our acceptance of all paths is laid out in the ancient Hindu teaching in the Rig Veda: The Truth is One, the Wise call it by many names (Ekam Sat, Vipraha Bahuda Vadanti).  Till this education process is successful, we all must take proper precautions at our own houses of worship in order to prevent further tragedies.

Dr. Inder Saini,

Chairperson, Board of Trustees,

In behalf of the Leadership and Devotees of the Bharatiya Temple of Metropolitan Detroit

From President Murray, Ecumenical Theological Seminary

Many woke up to the news of the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. When, when, when are we going to wake up from this centuries-long national nightmare of horrific racism? When are we going to live into our humanity?  Right now, black American citizens can’t walk down the street, play by a pool, or pray in church without the shadow of violence and death at the hands of white citizens and police constantly, constantly strangling any hope at living peaceably, breathing easily. America, we’ve got to do better than being the Land of the Oppressed and the Home of the Terrorized.

A white individual took offense to my taking my fellow white Americans to task in light of the shootings: “How does an innocent law abiding white citizen who condemns the actions of a few whom share his “color” respond?” My answer: By not getting over-concerned that people of our color are being called out to be responsible to act and cry out and demand justice and health and peace for American citizens who literally are dying at the hands of people who look like us. It’s terrorism on our own soil, meted out by members of one race upon another. American citizens are murdered at the hands of other American citizens, but the ones who are dying seem consistently to be black and the ones who are killing seem consistently to be white. Sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but the people who are dying and their families who are grieving and their communities which are suffering unabatedly: They are more uncomfortable than you.

This is a time in which we must not avert our eyes from the dead, but in which also we must be sure to dwell with the responsibilities of we who live.  Our nation must not continue this narrative of pain, and seek instead the possibilities of hope.  But hope must be based upon something real, and not just empty promises of a better future.  So our responsibility in the church is to work together, to refuse the all too common segregations of the worship hour.  Let us actively seek our Christian sisterhood and brotherhood together, to be the body of Christ together and never apart, to seek peace and unity by building and supporting neighborhoods and generations that engender peace and unity.

I pray for the saints of Mother Emanuel, for the people of Charleston, and for the citizens of the United States.  There is holy work ahead, and let us not avert our eyes from the consequences when that holy work does not change hearts from hatred to love.

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray

President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Preaching

Ecumenical Theological Seminary

Photo: By Cal Sr from Newport, NC, US (Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church) via Wikimedia Commons