Shoulder to Shoulder Statement Following January 6th, 2021, Insurrection on U.S. Capitol

January 7, 2021

For Immediate Release



We are Shoulder to Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims, Advancing American Ideals. What does this mean after the events of January 6, 2021, when a crowd of rioters brazenly and violently took over the U.S. Capitol? Dignity, respect, and fairness for all people, regardless of their skin color, faith, identity or background are American ideals that have never been fully realized. We recognize the bigotry and racism our neighbors who are Muslim, black, and people of color endure every day. We see these problems continually perpetuated in our own circles and in the public sphere. We would be remiss if we did not call attention to the incredible double standards displayed in both law enforcement reaction to and media coverage of yesterday’s events, as a manifestation of racism and white supremacy.

We recognize there are those who seek to create an America that excludes vast portions of our population, and we will not remain idle. We will persist to move forward together, but unity requires that we look squarely at the depth of injustice and racism in our country, and that we take on the deep work necessary to address these injustices so that our unity is not a facade, but authentic and earned. This is the work of Shoulder to Shoulder.

As a multifaith coalition, we continue to stand up against bigotry and all of the forces that seek to thwart the American ideals we hold dear. Shoulder to Shoulder is committed to continuing this work, especially if and when misinformation and discrimination resonates within our own communities. By working together and courageously addressing the depth of injustice and hate that exists in our midst, we believe we can realize our American ideals. Though the road may be long, but if we take seriously the responsibility and necessity to speak up and take action, we believe we — ALL of us — can move forward.

The following are responses from members of the Shoulder to Shoulder coalition:

ISNA President, Safaa Zarzour, said that “the attack on the US Capitol is an attack on democracy and American ideals. We strongly condemn these attacks and pray for those who are in harm’s way. It is reassuring to see that the Congress has done its duty to certify the election results.”

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Executive Director of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, said yesterday in a statement that, “We are witnessing an unprecedented assault not just on the U.S. Capitol building and members of Congress, but on American democracy itself. The scenes of insurrectionists breaching Capitol security, of Senators and Representatives hiding under chairs on the chamber floor praying with the chaplain while Capitol police stand at the ready, are terrifying and heartbreaking. The fact that today’s events were encouraged by the President of the United States who has refused to accept his electoral loss is equally terrifying and heartbreaking. Our democracy is only as strong as the people willing to abide by its laws and norms.”

The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church said, “We are a democracy with longstanding institutional norms that must be honored…foremost among them following the processes laid out in the Constitution and federal statute to facilitate the peaceful and orderly transfer of power. We know this requires the hard work of reckoning with our history in order to build a more perfect union in the future.”

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said in a video message yesterday, “This is not a protest. This is not only breaking the law but it is a threat to our democracy. This is a time for us to stand together and to speak out. Enough is enough.”

And our partners at the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) yesterday put out a statement to “[condemn and repudiate] the actions of pro-Trump protesters [yesterday], who instead of exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech, have put people’s lives in danger, made a mockery of the American democratic process and the rule of law, vandalized the U.S. Capitol, assaulted law enforcement officers and threatened the safety of members of Congress, staffers and others who work at the Capitol building. Chaos reigns, guns have been drawn, and our democracy is under siege. This is outrageous, unacceptable, shameful and a disgrace.”


Shoulder to Shoulder is a coalition of 34 religious denominations and organizations committed to standing with American Muslims to advance American ideals

Shoulder to Shoulder is a coalition of 34 religious denominations and organizations committed to standing with American Muslims to advance American ideals