Home Commentary Letters to the Editor, Dec. 6, 2023

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 6, 2023

A group of Vermonters gathered in Montpelier on Nov. 29 to hold a candlelight vigil for the three Palestinian students shot in Burlington over Thanksgiving weekend. Ghazi Jendoubi, second from right, a Tunisian asylum seeker, wears a Palestinian-style kaffiyeh in solidarity with the victims. “It could happen to me,” he said. “It could happen to anyone.” Participants held candles and sang while standing in a semi-circle around a photograph of the three shooting victims, childhood friends Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ahmad, all Palestinians who grew up together and attended the same Quaker school, according to a GoFundMe page for Awartani, who was paralyzed in the attack. Photo by Terry Allen.

Praying for a Peaceful Path

To the Editor: 

As clergy and people of faith, we are dismayed by the recent shooting of three young Palestinian men in Burlington. No one should have to live in fear of violence while simply walking down the street speaking one’s native language and wearing the traditional clothing of one’s people. While the motive of the shooter is still being investigated, we are heartbroken for our Palestinian neighbors that they must live in fear and trepidation in our own Vermont communities because of who they are and where they come from.

Our faith traditions call on us to live in God’s love by extending welcome to all, loving our neighbors, and protecting the stranger. With anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiment alive and growing, we urge that we all affirm and proclaim the full humanity and dignity of Palestinian people.

We also share our concern for the highly polarized political environment that is leading too many people in our community to disregard the humanity of others with whom they disagree and whose life experiences they do not fully understand. We denounce all hatred and, in this moment, especially all Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-Arab words and actions.

We pray for the growth of compassion and the resolve to find paths toward a peaceful and just coexistence. There is no other way if we are to survive than to love and honor the fullness of our humanity and the divine light within each of us.

Board of Directors, Beth Jacob Synagogue, Montpelier

Rev. Amy Pitton, Bethany United Church of Christ, Montpelier

Rev. Beth Ann Maier, Christ Episcopal Church, Montpelier

Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal), Barre

Rev. Rae Fraumann, Hedding United Methodist Church, Barre

Rev. Rameen W. Zahed, The Old Meeting House of East Montpelier

Rev. Kenzan Seidenberg, Shao Shan Temple, East Calais

Rev. Sinu Je, Trinity United Methodist Church, Montpelier

Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, Unitarian Church of Montpelier

Rev. Seiso Paul Cooper, Zen Realizational Community, Montpelier

Got an opinion? Send your letter of no more than 250 words to editor@montpelierbridge.com. Preference given to local readers; letters may be edited for style or length.