WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Special Representative on Antisemitism, Racism and Intolerance for the 57-nation Organization Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, today had two meetings, one with the Jewish community and one with the Muslim community, in Montgomery County to discuss how the ongoing conflict in the Middle East is affecting Maryland’s faith communities. Senator Cardin also shared his observations from his recent trip to the region and listened to the concerns of Marylanders, especially those with ties to the region. Participating in the meetings were faith leaders from the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the Islamic Society of Germantown.
“This war is affecting both innocent Israelis and Palestinians, and it has had a far-reaching impact on both Jewish and Muslim communities in Maryland. Today was an important opportunity to both to share the experience from my trip to the Middle East and hear from interfaith communities at home who are experiencing, first-hand, the devastation of the conflict abroad,” said Senator Cardin. “The humanitarian toll on both Israelis and Palestinians has been compounded by an increase in antisemitic and anti-Muslim threats and hate crimes across our state and country. When we all stand united against hate, we can work together towards mutual respect and understanding. It is critical that, as Marylanders, we all work to maintain and uphold our values and support each other at this time of grief and need.”
The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center recently warned about an increase in threats against Jewish and Muslim communities across the country. Senator Cardin has strongly supported the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which has been used by local religious and nonprofit community organizations to enhance security measures in Maryland.
Outreach to Montgomery County’s faith communities follows a recent bipartisan Senate delegation visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia where lawmakers met with the families of the victims of the Hamas attack, including families of the abducted, discussed preventing the conflict from spreading and continued progress on normalization talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia.