The Rev. Peter Morales issued this statement following the news of a shooting attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee that left four U.S. Marines dead:
"I am deeply saddened by yesterday’s shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and my heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims. Initial news reports indicate that the four victims were targeted because they were members of the U.S. military, a tragic reminder of the dangers that our women and men in uniform face at home as well as abroad. We honor their service and their sacrifice.
I am sure there will be people who use the Chattanooga killings as reason to condemn Islam in general. Such a reaction is based on ignorance, fear, and distrust. Indeed, Naeem Baig, president of the Islamic Circle of North America, has condemned the shootings. “Islam condemns such an act and in no way endorses such violence,” he said. Our nation’s leaders, both civic and religious, must denounce extremism in all its forms wherever it appears. Only by building bridges across the boundaries of race, religion, and ethnicity can we hope to create a world where such heinous acts as yesterday’s killings would never occur.
The murders are also another grim result of the proliferation of weapons due to our country’s lax gun control laws. My sadness at these killings is mingled with anger that our country refuses to do more to limit access to deadly weapons. How many more Newtowns and Auroras and Charlestons and Chattanoogas will it take before we muster the national will to pass effective gun control legislation?"