Washington, DC, June 2, 2023 – ADL (Anti-Defamation League), the world’s leading anti-hate organization, and the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network (MFNN) a global leader in grassroots multi-faith engagement, today announced the launch of a new partnership to educate faith leaders on the latest extremist trends threatening communities of faith across the country.
Through this partnership, ADL and MFNN will co-host a pilot program in the following cities: Dallas-Ft. Worth, Detroit, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.
“It is critical that faith leaders, particularly those whose communities have been subjected to hate-fueled violence, convene with one another to learn, break bread, and understand more about the latest extremist trends and how to address them collectively,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “We are grateful for this new initiative with MFNN and their broad base of faith leaders who are committed to protecting their communities and speaking out on behalf of others on issues ranging from antisemitism to extremist threats.”
Attacks on houses of worship, faith congregations, and clergy of all religions is a reminder of the record levels of hate affecting diverse communities across the country. In recent years we have witnessed horrific deadly attacks in: Sutherland Springs, TX; Pittsburgh, PA; Charleston, SC; Oak Creek, WI; Poway, CA, among countless others including the recent desecration of a mosque in Philadelphia, PA, arson targeting Black Churches in Jackson, MS, and last year’s hostage situation targeting a synagogue in Colleyville, TX.
ADL’s recently released 2022 Audit on Antisemitic Incidents highlights the alarming trend of attacks on Jews in the United States. The report found that there were 3,697 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 36% increase from the 2,717 incidents tabulated in 2021 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979. Bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions saw an alarming spike, an increase from eight to 91 incidents year over year. In 2022, there were 589 incidents targeting Jewish institutions such as synagogues, Jewish community centers and Jewish schools, an increase of 12% from 2021.
The imams, pastors, and rabbis with which MFNN works in cities across the country are grappling with unprecedented challenges — from mosque burnings to attacks on synagogues and churches to troubling levels of hate and division. We will not be able to appropriately address these challenges without grassroots efforts prioritizing authentic relationships occurring between people of often irreconcilable beliefs. MFNN welcomes this important partnership with ADL as a means of equipping these clergy with more tools as they advance the important work of peacemaking and depolarization in their communities.
“The biggest challenge for religious freedom in America is not legal. More than anything else, it is relationships that need to be developed and maintained,” said Bob Roberts Jr., MFNN Co-Founder. “This project with ADL will help us marry necessary data regarding domestic extremism, and threats to communities of faith, with a grassroots effort to build authentic relationships with people who often hold irreconcilable views. We will be able to actively engage communities with needed peacemaking tools that can help build resilient communities.”
The partnership between ADL and (MFNN) is critical to the fight against hate and bigotry in our society. Both organizations have been actively working to combat hate crimes and bias incidents. By working together, ADL and MFNN can leverage their respective strengths to develop more effective strategies for addressing hate and promoting understanding and respect across communities.
Moreover, this partnership sends a powerful message that people from different faiths and backgrounds can come together to fight against hate and build more inclusive communities. ADL and MFNN’s collaboration, their solidarity and unity, serve as a critical and powerful tool in the fight against hate.
ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.
Multi-Faith Neighbors Network (MFNN) was founded by Pastor Bob Roberts Jr., Imam Mohamed Magid & Rabbi David Saperstein. MFNN coordinates relationship building and peacemaking action with leaders across various faith traditions, while never sacrificing each faith tradition’s unique theological identity. MFNN strives to build mutual trust and respect among faith leaders through civic engagement, authentic relationships, and honest dialogue leading to resilient, compassionate, and flourishing communities — communities that are more interconnected and resilient to hate, violence, and polarization. Learn more at mfnn.org.