Simon Wiesenthal Center Reaction to Orlando Terrorist Massacre

June 12, 2016

"We join with all Americans in expressing our revulsion and horror over the terrorist attack that murdered 49 people and maimed many others in a gay Orlando nightclub. We express our condolences to all families impacted by this barbaric attack and pray for the recovery of the survivors,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO, who is currently in Jerusalem.

"The mass murderer, had, in his own words, indicated that he pledged allegiance to ISIS and had specifically mentioned the Tsarnaev brothers, the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon massacre. Whether he was taking orders from ISIS, or turned on to its ideology via the Internet, the shootings serve as another brutal reminder that ISIS is a clear and present danger to all American citizens. Incremental strategies to degrade ISIS are not enough. America must unleash its full military might to destroy the group and retakes all the territory it controls.

"It is also time for all leaders to acknowledge that hate is hate and terrorism is terrorism—whatever the source and whomever the target. Groups like ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Al Shabab, and Hezbollah are all dedicated to destroying societies that stand for inclusive Western values, including freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom to pursue one’s individual happiness and lifestyle. It is no surprise that the gay community has been targeted by such groups and by the Iranian regime, the chief state sponsor of global terrorism. We urge the US, EU and NATO to act with all its allies and all civilized nations to destroy these terrorists, their infrastructure and support systems.”

“Finally, the Islamist terrorists believe they are fulfilling God’s wishes. It is up to the religious leaders of Islam representing the full spectrum of the religion to teach their followers that such heinous acts desecrate, not glorify God,” Rabbi Cooper concluded.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).