Photo: Albin Hillert/World Council of Churches

Photo: Albin Hillert/World Council of Churches

After Wednesday evening’s attack by a gunman on a synagogue in the German city of Halle as dozens of worshippers observed Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of fasting and atonement that follows Rosh Hoshanah, the Jewish new year, World Council of Churches general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit  said “the assault seems to be a brazen display of racist anti-Semitism that, sadly, is on the rise in Europe and elsewhere.”

Tveit said “We are condemning this attack and the white, anti-Semitic, racist and extremists ideology that might motivate this attack. We also emphasize the importance of proper security for all, particularly minorities, in our countries.”

The attack is reported to have killed two persons outside the synagogue and injured two others, and a suspect is in custody. The gunman posted images of the military-style attack and anti-Semitic language even as the incident was still underway.

Said Tveit, “As brothers and sisters in faith, and as fellow humans, we decry this violence against worshippers peacefully observing their most holy day.  We grieve for the victims of the attack, and we lift up the Jewish community in prayer. Needless to say, this kind of racist violence and hate are repugnant to us, fortifying our resolve to work with Jews and Christians everywhere  to oppose hatred and instill respect for all people.”

Tveit concluded “We offer our heartfelt prayers for the victims and condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in this appalling act of violence,” he said. “As a global fellowship of churches, we stand in solidarity with those in Halle who have been attacked in this vicious way while celebrating the holiest day of the year in their faith journey.”


Recent WCC and Jewish collaboration on issues of race and ethnic hatred

What is anti-Semitism?