Responding to the fatal shootings at two Jewish facilities near Kansas City, President Obama said Monday that Americans must stand united against “religious-based” violence.
“We see what happens around the world when this kind of religious-based or tinged violence can rear its ugly head,” Mr. Obama said at the annual Easter prayer breakfast at the White House. “It’s got no place in our society.”
The president pledged the federal government’s full assistance in the criminal investigation of the shootings, which left three dead. Mr. Obama said the timing of the attacks was “all the more painful” coming as Jews prepared to observe Passover and Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, and he noted that synagogues across the country are taking added security precautions.
“Nobody should have to worry about their security when gathering with their fellow believers,” Mr. Obama said. “No one should ever have to fear for their safety when they go to pray.”
Authorities have arrested Frazier Glenn Cross in the slayings. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, has described Cross as a “raging anti-Semite” who has written extensively in an online forum that advocates exterminating Jews.
The shootings took place at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas, and at the Village Shalom Retirement Community in Leawood, Kansas.
Mr. Obama said authorities are still learning details about the shootings.
“As Americans, we not only need to open our hearts to the families of the victims, we’ve got to stand united against this kind of terrible violence which has no place in our society,” Mr. Obama said. “And 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.”