Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama warned Monday that religious violence had no place in U.S. society after a gunman with alleged anti-Semitic ties killed three people at a Jewish center and retirement home.
“Nobody should have to worry about their security when gathering with their fellow believers. No one should have to fear for their safety when they go to prayer,” Obama said at the White House, a day after the shooting in Kansas.
The president said the shooting was particularly tragic because it came as Jews were preparing to celebrate Passover and Christians were marking Palm Sunday.
He said that the U.S. government would provide whatever assistance necessary to help the affected community, as synagogues and other religious sites hike security measures.
“As Americans… we’ve got to stand united against this kind of terrible violence, which has no place in our society,” Obama said, as he hosted an Easter prayer breakfast.
“We have to keep coming together across faiths to combat the ignorance and intolerance, including anti-Semitism, that can lead to hatred and to violence.”
Alleged gunman Frazier Glenn Cross, now in custody, was a former Ku Klux Klan leader and had a history of anti-Semitism, said the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups.
He reportedly yelled “Heil Hitler” as police escorted him away in Kansas City on Sunday.
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