voridis and cardinMakis Voridis and Ben CardinCOPENHAGEN, 31 October 2018 – In response to the attack on worshippers at a synagogue in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which left 11 dead, the Chair of the OSCE PA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism Makis Voridis (Greece) and Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism and Intolerance Ben Cardin (United States) expressed condolences and called on political leaders to end divisive rhetoric.

“The tragic killing of 11 innocent people in Pittsburgh offers a painful reminder of the threat posed by the virulent proliferation of hateful and violent ideas in our society. I condemn this attack in the strongest terms and call for more respect, dialogue, and inclusivity instead of violent confrontation, extremism and intolerance,” Voridis said.

“In an atmosphere where groups are scapegoated, violence against marginalized communities becomes normalized,” Voridis added. “All of our hearts today are with those affected by this senseless violence.”

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a former Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, called the Pittsburgh shooting an attack on the entire nation.

“I join the nation in mourning the terrible loss of life at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday. This murderous rampage that targeted Pittsburgh’s Jewish community while they were practicing their faith is truly an attack on the entire nation — a nation founded by people seeking to worship in peace and freedom,” said Cardin. “I am also extremely troubled by the murder of two African-Americans in Jeffersontown, Kentucky last Thursday, by a gunman who first sought, but failed, to enter the First Baptist Church, which could have led to an even greater loss of life. We are fortunate that no one lost their lives in the last week when mail bombs sent to people repeatedly vilified by President Trump were intercepted by our law enforcement agencies.”

He added: “These attacks underscore once again that words have consequences. Public discourse that stokes fear and sharpens grievances is not a policy debate and it is not problem-solving. It is hate mongering, pure and simple, and has once again resulted in the murder and wounding of innocents and law-enforcement officers. Hate should have no place in our society. Leaders must be held accountable for ending hate in our community by their deeds and words.”

For Senator Cardin’s full statement, please click here.