President Trump called for civilized nations to join together to end all violent attacks against religious people, citing recent tragedies targeting Jews in California, Christians in Sri Lanka, and Muslims in New Zealand.
The president and First Lady Melania Trump hosted 100 faith leaders at the White House dinner in honor of the National Day of Prayer, the first Thursday in May, to stress the need for religious unity.
“Violence and terrorism against people of all faiths must end and it must end now,” the president said to applause at the faith-filled reception Wednesday night, adding that "all civilized nations must join together in this effort."
Trump paid respects to Jewish-Americans killed and wounded last week at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California. He then turned to other examples of religious attacks.
“We mourn for the Christians murdered in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, and grieve for the Muslims murdered at their mosques in New Zealand,” Trump said. “Here at home, we also remember the three historically black churches burned recently in Louisiana and the horrific shooting last year at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.”
Trump emphasized the importance of religious liberty and said his administration is "breaking records" with federal judges and justices of the Supreme Court.
He pointed out that as Christians just celebrated Easter, Jews observed Passover, and Muslims prepare for Ramadan, the nation is stronger when people of all faiths join together.
“When we embrace the fullness of our faiths, we become better friends, better neighbors, better citizens and better people," Trump concluded. “We will be a nation that believes forever and we certainly believe more than anyone in the power of prayer."
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are set to address the nation in a National Day of Prayer service Thursday in the Rose Garden.