Need for a Muslim-Jewish alliance

Today’s guest blogger is Joshua M.Z. Stanton, co-editor of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue™ and a rabbinical student at Hebrew … Continued

Today’s guest blogger is Joshua M.Z. Stanton, co-editor of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue™ and a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College.

When Bernie Madoff was arrested in December, 2008, the blogosphere filled with hate. Anti-Semitic remarks of the sort not seen in a generation surfaced, as Madoff fulfilled all of the worst possible stereotypes about Jews. One crooked investor who preyed on his coreligionists’ charitable contributions made anti-Semitism seem trendy.

Last week, when a mentally unstable major in the army shot up a meeting space at Fort Hood in Texas, the blogosphere was again overflowing with hate, this time aimed against Muslims. Even as top military brass made clear that the incident was a military – not religious – matter, bloggers framed Nidal Hasan as a terrorist, inspired to kill in the name of his religion.

The hate must stop. But even as Jewish organizations denounce Madoff and Muslim organizations condemn Hasan, their voices cannot alone silence the din of the blogosphere. They desperately need for institutions outside their own religious communities to join in the chorus against hate and reframe the discourse. This mutual need may in fact provide an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration between the two religious communities.

The Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Religious Action Center, Union for Reform Judaism, United Synagogue, etc. should condemn slander committed against the American Muslim community for Hasan’s deranged acts. Similarly, the Islamic Society of North America, American Society for Muslim Advancement, Cordoba Initiative, Zaytuna Institute, etc. should condemn terrible generalizations about Jews based on the greed of Bernie Madoff.

Alone, both minority groups face defamation. Together they have the chance to make history. By coming together to protect each other from defamation and slander, the American Jewish and American Muslim communities can redefine their relationship as one of mutual service – rather than one overshadowed by the Middle East conflict.

The personnel cost of aligning would be next to nothing – the periodic conference call for top officials at Muslim and Jewish organizations and perhaps a yearly meeting. But through those contacts, and the active defense of each other as minority groups, the relationship between both communities could flourish. A partnership of necessity could lay the groundwork for rich interchange and collaborative learning in the spirit of pluralism. Now is the time for a Muslim-Jewish alliance against defamation. Hate has been left unchecked for far too long.

The content of this blog reflects the views of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of either Eboo Patel or the Interfaith Youth Core.

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  • Mary_Cunningham

    Yasser:I answered your question (Why are British Pakistanis attracted to radical Islam?) on EP’s last blog.Regards,

  • yasseryousufi

    Yep, I got it and replied to it as well…….thanks~!

  • yasseryousufi

    Eboo,This is a wonderful theme. The Jewish people and muslims go back a long way in terms of cooperation and mutual respect. If it weren’t for Israel, Jews and muslims have nothing to dislike each other. The people who quote Quranic verses regarding Jews out of context also need to be told that all the Prophets of Jews as well as Jesus Christ is spoken off with respect in the Quran. The one ‘Dua’ that all muslims are obligated to offer in their prayers 5 times a day asks God to have mercy on not just the Ummah of Prophet but on the sons and daughters of Abraham as well. Islam also allows inter marriages with Jews and Christians calling them the people of the book. So yea there’s a lot going for someone who wants to build up Jewish/Muslim goodwill.

  • jmzstanton

    Dear Yasser,Thanks for your comments. For similar articles, you are welcome to have a look at the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, All the best,Josh Stanton,