On the night of February 4, the Chicago Loop Synagogue was defaced by a lone vandal, who destroyed several windows and pasted swastikas on the façade of the building. Video surveillance cameras at the synagogue captured images of the man acting on what is widely seen as a religiously motivated act of hatred.
In response, CIOGC Board members including Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin and Tasneem Osmani, as well as other Chicago Muslim leaders and members of the faith community, gathered on February 8 at the Chicago Loop Synagogue in a show of solidarity and support for the Jewish community and against anti-Semitism and hate. The event, titled “Love Thy Neighbor,” brought together a delegation of representatives from various Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities to offer words of comfort and support and send a message that the United States of America is and ought to be a diversely religious nation.
Pastor Chris Harris of the Bright Star Church articulated the need for popular mobilization, reminding the congregants that “We should say nothing about violence until we do something about violence. We should say nothing about hatred until we do something about hatred.”
Speaking to CIOGC after the event, Dr. Reverend Otis Moss III of the Trinity United Church of Christ elaborated on the need for interfaith action in preserving American civic life, saying “The broad nature of interfaith work ultimately strengthens democracy. To have a Muslim work with a Sikh who communicates to a Pentecostal who is standing with a Jew…this is the essence of civic life, it is the essence of ‘Love Thy Neighbor.’”
A suspect has since been arrested by Chicago Police in relation to the anti-Semitic vandalism perpetrated at the Chicago Loop Synagogue and is being held on $150,000 bail.