In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring
We are natural allies, Muslims and Jews. We worship the same God. We honor the same Prophets. We have very similar theology and religious law. We both harken to the same patriarch, Abraham.
Yet, for some reason, and for many years, Muslims and Jews were not always standing together. I suspect it had a lot to do with the conflict in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians. While unfortunate, it was nevertheless reality.
But recent events may be changing this reality.
In the wake of the election of 2016, there has been a shocking wave of threats directed toward the Jewish community. Most recently, it took the form of bomb threats to JCCs and Synagogues and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries. Muslims, too, have also been the target of repugnant acts of hatred and violence. This includes multiple arson attacks on mosques across the country.
And in response, the Muslim and Jewish community have stood up for each other.
The Religion News Service detailed how Jews in Florida rallied to help local Muslims who had their mosque attacked by arson. It also outlined other instances of interfaith support:
When vandals damaged headstones in a Missouri Jewish cemetery last month, Muslim activists raised more than $125,000 to fund repairs.
When a Victoria, Texas, mosque was razed by vandals in late January, members of a local Jewish congregation allowed the displaced Muslim worshippers to worship in their synagogue.
And when vandals toppled more than 100 headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia last weekend, Muslims and others traveled from other states to repair them.
The Muslim Student Associations of Florida State and Florida A&M universities delivered bouquets of flowers to campus Jewish organizations and local synagogues in a show of solidarity after the two cemetery attacks.
Muslim veterans have offered to help guard Jewish sites.
Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, an anti-Semitism watchdog group, received a standing ovation when he said at a conference that if U.S. Muslims were forced to register with the government, he would register as a Muslim, too.
This truly warms my heart to see, and I pray these recent actions sow the seeds for deep and lasting cooperation and friendship between American Jews and Muslims for many years to come.
And while I am sad that it took repugnant acts of hatred against the Muslim and Jewish community to motivate this wonderful interfaith work, it is better late than never. And may any differences between Muslims and Jews, either real or perceived, never let them forget who they really are: Children of Abraham who must always stand together.