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ME/SA stands with Pittsburgh

On Saturday, October 27, eleven people were killed at the Tree of Life/Or L'Simcha synagogue in Pittsburgh. The mass murder happened during a bris, a ceremony to welcome an infant into the Jewish community. It was the deadliest antisemitic attack in the history of the United States.

The program in Middle East/South Asia studies at UC Davis stands in grief with the Jewish communities in Pittsburgh and across the country. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, many of whom were elders, and those who were injured, including the first responders trying to stop the shooter. We also recognize and stand in empathy with those in our community whose safety and dignity is under threat.

At a time when the forces of antisemitism have been emboldened and hate crimes against marginalized groups are on the rise, we as scholars of the Middle East and South Asia note the deep and deadly links between white supremacy and nativism, and the resurgence of intolerance and vitriol towards Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and members of many other ethnic and religious minorities. 

The symbol of the “Tree of Life,” in Jewish culture, has long represented the pursuit of knowledge. The ME/SA program at UC Davis is dedicated to pursuing and disseminating knowledge of the diverse cultures of the Middle East and South Asia in order to dispel ignorance and prejudice and clear the path toward understanding and truth. In our grief and in our condemnation of xenophobia and white supremacist violence, we recommit ourselves to this work.