WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that people of faith around the world have faced terrible hardship of late and called for greater efforts to protect worshipers.
Trump said violence and terrorism against people of all faiths must end, and that “all civilized nations must join together in this effort.”
Trump spoke to faith leaders at a White House dinner in honor of the National Day of Prayer, an event that takes place Thursday.
Trump paid respects to Jewish-Americans killed and wounded last week at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California. He also recalled the attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka last month Easter and on Muslims in New Zealand the month before.
He also cited the burning of three black churches in Louisiana and last year’s shooting spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
On Sunday, Trump called the spiritual leader of the Poway, California, synagogue where a shooting Saturday killed one and injured three others.
“He spoke about his love of peace and Judaism and Israel,” said Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, of Chabad of Poway, speaking Sunday to the press in front of his congregation.
The rabbi said he was “amazed” to hear from an American president, and the call lasted between 10 and 15 minutes.
“He was so comforting,” the rabbi said.
The incident is being treated as a hate crime, and the gunman, John Earnest, 19, has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Chabad congregant Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, died in Saturday’s shooting.
Elected officials across the political spectrum have condemned Saturday’s violence, which coincided with the final day of Passover and came six months after the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue, which killed 11 people.