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Islamic, Jewish, Christian groups express solidarity in wake of threats

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The Levite Jewish Community Center on Montclair Road has received three bomb threats this year. (Levite Jewish Community Center photo)

Times staff report

The Levite Jewish Community Center on Montclair Road has received three bomb threats this year. (Levite Jewish Community Center photo)
Many have spoken out against the bomb threats targeting the Levite Jewish Community Center on Montclair Road. (Levite Jewish Community Center photo)

Birmingham-area Christian and Muslim communities are among those that have spoken out against bomb threats targeting the Levite Jewish Community Center on Montclair Road. And when the Birmingham Islamic Society received a threat by email last month it received wide-ranging support from friends in the faith community.

Last month, the interfaith coalition Faith in Action Alabama held a prayer rally at the Levite Jewish Community Center to show support for Jews and Muslims.

“We share a commitment to creating a city and a world in which each of us can practice our faith in peace, and where we are strengthened by our diversity,” the Rev. Dave Barnhart, pastor of St. Junia United Methodist Church in Birmingham, told AL.com. “We have each other’s backs.”

Sameh Asal, imam of the Birmingham Islamic Society, was among those offering support for the Jewish community: “I’m here to show the support of the Muslim community to our brothers and sisters in the Jewish faith.”

“In the Muslim community, we are really disturbed and concerned about hearing that there was a threat against our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community,” Asal told AL.com. “We feel like if it’s bad for the Jews, it’s also bad for Muslims, it’s bad for black people, it’s bad for everyone. So we’re here to show support and to stand in solidarity against any action or any saying of hate and to show support to the Jewish community.”

“If we do not stand by each other, we should not expect anyone else to stand by us,” Asal said.

That was one of many gatherings hosted by area groups that teamed up to speak with a unified voice.

In mid-February, a program entitled “Stand as One: Empowering Marginalized Voices in Birmingham” was held on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The event drew individuals and groups seeking ways to make Birmingham more inclusive. Among those involved were faith-based, community, and academic organizations that discussed challenges faced by the groups they serve; strategies they are implementing to address those challenges; and ways to promote collaboration and stand for justice and human rights.

The groups that partnered for the “Stand as One” event included the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice; Black Lives Matter Birmingham Chapter; the Birmingham Islamic Society; Disability Rights and Resources; Greater Birmingham Ministries; the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama; the Magic City Acceptance Center; and the National Organization of Women Birmingham Chapter.