Oct 03 2014

Muslim-Jewish Solidarity During the Holy Days

Image Source: salem-news.com

Image Source: salem-news.com

by Hesham El Meligy
October 2014

Muslims and Jews have much in common.  Yes there are differences, but there’s much more in common than what you think.  The differences, especially as of late, are more political than religious.  There are those who are fanning the flames of these differences; And there are those who would like you to think that there has been a war between Muslims and Jews for 1400 years.  Of course that couldn’t be farther from  the truth.

A quick search about Muslim Spain and the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th Century would show how Muslims and Jews who escaped the Inquisition, escaped by fleeing to Muslim lands in the Middle East. They lived and flourished there together (not without problems), for centuries to come. And this is just as both communities lived together, along with Christians and others, in Muslim Spain before the Inquisition.

This past summer we witnessed events that led to a rise in tensions and a spike in hate crimes against Muslim and Jewish communities and houses of worship in the United States.  In response to that, and as a way to show the commonalities and solidarity between the two communities, a group of American Muslim and Jewish leaders, Mosques, Synagogues, and organizations, released a statement on the occasion of the Muslim and Jewish High Holy Days, that coincides together this week.  As part of my years of interfaith service and building bridges of understanding, respect, and peace between people, I was privileged and proud to be a signer to the statement on behalf of Muslims For Liberty. Here is the statement, and the list of signatories:


October 1, 2014
P. Adem Carroll   
Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub 
Let us not bind them on any altar!
On the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShannah, (this year on September 25-26) Jews worldwide read the story of the Binding of Isaac, which describes the Patriarch Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his beloved son, Isaac, to the Almighty.
On Eid al-Adha, which this year coincides with Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement, on Oct. 4), Muslims worldwide will celebrate the Feast of the Sacrifice, marking the willingness of Ibrahim to offer his beloved son, Ishmael, to Allah.


But in both cases, the punchline is “Don’t harm your child!” –
because God is not a God of death but of life.
So this year, we join in the middle of these holidays to affirm:
No child — Jewish, Muslim, or any other — should face death, destruction, and despair.
Let us heed our shared Creator.
There is only One God and One Humankind.


Signed by Jewish, Muslim, and Other American Organizations, Schools, Community Centers,  Houses of Worship,  and Leaders:
Imam Shamsi Ali, Spiritual Leader, Jamaica Muslim Center (Queens, NY); President, Nusantara Foundation
Imam Samir al-Raey, Chaplain, Baruch College
Linda Sarsour, Executive Director, Arab American Association of New York
Arab American Family Support Center, Brooklyn, NY
Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies, Lee Sherman, President/CEO
Lisa Attias, Unitarian Universalist Church of Queens
Brotherhood Synagogue, NYC, NY, Rabbi Daniel Alder
Congregation Beth El, Sunbury, PA, Rabbi Nina Mandel
Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon, Marcelo R. Bronstein, and Felicia L. Sol
Cordoba Initiative
Dawood Mosque, Brooklyn, NY
The Dialogue Project, NYC
Flushing Interfaith Council (Queens, NY)
Naomi Paz Greenberg, Flushing Interfaith Council*
Chaplain Rabia Terri Harris, Scholar in Residence, Community of Living Traditions, Stony Point Conference Center
Hesham El-Meligy, Founder, Islamic Civil Association;  Co-founder, Muslims for Liberty
The Interfaith Center of New York
Islamic Center of Long Island, Westbury, NY
Islamic Circle of North America
Stephanie Ives, Director, New Israel Fund NY /TriState
Rabbi Steve Gutow, Jewish Council on Public Affairs
J Street NYC
Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Brooklyn, NY, Rabbi Ellen Lippmann
Rabbi Serge Lippe, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue*, Brooklyn, NY
Masjid Omar ben Abdel-Aziz, Imam ‘Abdul ‘Azeem Khan (Jamaica, Queens, NY)
Muslim Community Network
Muslim Progressive Traditionalist Alliance
Imam Muhammad Musri, President, Islamic Society of Central Florida
National Disaster Interfaith Network
Partners for Progressive Israel
Rabbi Jason Klein, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College & Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, Philadelphia, PA, Rabbi Deborah Waxman
Romemu, NYC, Rabbi David Ingber
The Shalom Center, Rabbi Arthur Waskow
The Society for the Advancement of Judaism, NYC, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld
Temple Beth El, Stamford, CT, Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, LCSW, Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services*, NYC
*for identification purposes only



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