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In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

It’s about time. 

In the wake of the unprecedented election of Donald Trump and his worrying appointments of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim ideologues, the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America have come together. 

On November 14, both organizations announced the formation of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council. As news reports said, 

Though Jewish and Muslim groups have cooperated before, the size and influence of these two particular groups — and the prominence of the people who have joined the council — marks a milestone in Jewish-Muslim relations. 

“Our council is coming at the right time,” said Eftakhar Alam, senior coordinator at ISNA’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances. 

“We have to show the administration that as American Muslims and Jews — people of the faiths of Abraham — we are uniting to help the administration navigate in the proper constitutional manner, to uphold freedom of religion and constitutional rights for all American citizens.”

Robert Silverman, AJC Director of Muslim-Jewish relations, also said:

“The Council’s formation shows that American Muslim and Jewish leadership are now working together, focused on domestic developments. This is a first and is good news for the entire country.”

This is truly heartening and one of – I pray – will be many silver linings of the election of Donald Trump. Our two communities are natural allies: we worship the same God of Abraham; we both seek to follow in Abraham’s enormous footsteps; we are both patriotic American communities of faith which desire the best for our country. 

This is in line with the letter and spirit of the Qur’an, which says:

…help one another in furthering virtue and God-consciousness, and do not help one another in furthering evil and enmity… (5:2)

Unto every one of you have We appointed a [different] law and way of life. And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto, you. Compete, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ. (5:48)

“Compete, then, with one another in doing good works.”

This is what I have always hoped for the American Jewish and Muslim communities. There are so many things that can separate us, and it is easy to let those forces tear us apart. 

But, really, we need to work together for the common good: not just the good of our two faith communities, but for the common good of all Americans, either of faith or no faith. We are all one American family. We need each other, now more than ever before. 

Join me on Twitter (@GodFaithPen). 

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