Faith leaders condemn synagogue mass shooting
NEW YORK (AP) - Mayor Bill de Blasio joined New York's religious leaders and other elected officials Sunday to condemn the Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting and vowing to protect the city's Jewish communities from anti-Semitic violence.
The Democrat gathered outside a Manhattan synagogue Sunday afternoon with Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders, including Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
The people of New York stand with the 11 victims of Saturday's shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue and their families, de Blasio said. He said "violence against people because of their faith does not represent out values."
"This gathering sends a message. New York City will never succumb to hate," he said. "We will never allow ourselves to be divided."
The New York Police Department will be out in force to protect synagogues and Jewish community centers, the mayor said, adding: "We will not let anyone harm you."
"New Yorkers know that the only way to address hatred is head-on. Don't sweep it under the rug," he said.
The interfaith gathering outside Temple Emanu-El was held barely 27 hours after a gunman opened fire inside the Pittsburgh synagogue during Sabbath services, killing eight men and three women and wounding six others, including four police officers. The suspect, identified as 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers, was wounded by police. Authorities said he expressed hatred of Jews during the rampage and told officers afterward that he wanted all Jews to die.
Earlier Sunday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams joined with the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition and religious leaders to speak out against "anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate in all its forms."
Adams called for review of social media accounts before issuing a gun license after it was reported that Bowers was believed to have expressed virulently anti-Semitic views on social media.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday directed flags on all New York state government buildings be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue and Friday's slayings of two black grocery store patrons in Kentucky.
The Democrat says flags will be lowered Monday through sunset on Nov. 4. Cuomo says the entire nation has been shaken by the two shootings and by the attempted political bombings of prominent figures in the Democratic Party, including New York residents Hillary Clinton and George Soros, as well as CNN's Manhattan studios.
With New York state having the largest Jewish population outside Israel, Cuomo said he'll work to ensure religious institutions are free from violence and intolerance.