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Coalition for Mutual Respect Statement Regarding Firebombing of Huyen Trang Buddhist Meditation Centre in New Caney, Texas

  • November 16, 2023

The Coalition for Mutual Respect (CMR) was established by the ADL nearly 30 years ago with founding members the Reverend William A. Lawson, the late Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza and Rabbi Samuel E. Karff, of blessed memory, along with community leaders, including the late Jack Blanton and Richard Johnson.

The CMR has grown and currently consists of 38 spiritual and community leaders representing a diverse group of religions and races.

The mission of the CMR is to promote understanding and respect among the many ethnic and religious groups in Houston for the purpose of bringing about a unity of reverence, tolerance and love, and to stand united and ready to embrace each other’s needs.

We are saddened to learn about the firebombing of Huyen Trang Buddhist Meditation Centre in New Caney on Sunday, November 5.

We resolve to continue our outreach to the leadership and congregants at the Buddhist Temple, with expressions of support and solidarity, and to offer our help to ensure that they do not feel isolated or alone in dealing with this attack on their place of worship.  We will keep monitoring the situation to assist as much as we are able.

We are heartened by the response of the respective offices of the Montgomery County Sheriff and Fire Marshal, who released surveillance footage of the unknown man approaching the temple. Eric Killelea, religion reporter for The Houston Chronicle, wrote the two agencies “described how they aim to protect the ‘religious freedom and the safety’ of county residents and would continue to ‘aggressively work to bring individuals to justice who threaten those peacefully practicing their religious freedom.’

Killelea also quoted the Sheriff Rand Henderson’s statement:

“As a community, we stand united against any act threatening the peace and harmony we cherish. We firmly believe in upholding the religious freedoms of our citizens, and we will continue to protect and respect these fundamental rights. Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our citizens, and we assure you that every effort is being made to bring clarity to this situation. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to support one another, embrace our diversity and stand together against any form of hatred or discrimination.”

We could not have said it better ourselves.