Op-Ed: Building of Muslim-Jewish Ties Brings Hope for Mideast
Now for some much needed good news:
NEW YORK (JTA) — The recent conflict in Gaza and Israel casts a vivid spotlight on the need to strengthen relations between Jews and Muslims in countries around the world. It is crucial if we are to avoid importing the violence that has rocked the Holy Land to our communities.
The good news is that there is significant building of grass-roots Muslim-Jewish ties in North America, Europe and other regions — an ongoing process that is yielding positive results.
In the United States, mainstream Jewish organizations spoke up against the demagogic whipping-up of anti-Muslim hysteria like the cries in 2010 against the so-called Ground Zero mosque in New York City. American Jewish groups also spoke up against the passage this year by several state Legislatures of patently unconstitutional bills to “ban” Shariah law.
At the same time, prominent American Muslim leaders have spoken out publicly against Holocaust denial by representatives of Iran, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Before Gilad Shalit was released from captivity, American Muslim leaders also signed an open letter calling for his release.
Across the ocean, top European Muslim and Jewish leaders held a groundbreaking conference in Paris two months ago at which they vowed to work together to reduce conflicts between Jews and Muslims across the continent. They also pledged to join forces to oppose efforts in many countries to limit ritual practices that both faiths hold dear, such as circumcision and ritual slaughter.
Why has this blossoming of Muslim-Jewish relations in the Diaspora been taking place even as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has reached its nadir? […]