Russell Simmons Blasts Religious Institutions

The hip-hop mogul defends Al Sharpton against "haters."

Posted: 08/21/2011 12:25 PM EDT

Last week, a political brouhaha erupted over Al Sharpton being asked to participate in a panel. It was the 20th anniversary of the New York Crown Heights racial riots in which a young African-American child was killed and a young Jewish man was murdered.

 

Angered that some aren’t focused on healing but at remaining angry, Russell Simmons, 53, tells religious institutions in The Huffington Post, “DO YOUR JOB! Dig deep into the roots of your religions and fight for peace through reconciliation, understanding and love, which is the universal feeling that binds us all.”

 

Calling the 1991 riots “a deeply troubled part in America's past,” the chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding defends Sharpton’s right to have been a part of the dialogue. He also commends the reverend and the rabbi that organized the panel, and invited Sharpton, for trying to help in the healing process.

 

For Sharpton’s part, he tells the New York Daily News, "Twenty years later, I have grown. I would still have stood up for Gavin Cato, but I would have also included in my utterances that there was no justification or excuse for violence or for the death of Yankel Rosenbaum."

(Photo: Stephen Lovekin/GettyImages)

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