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April 30, 2016 / 22 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Muslim’

Egypt is Colorful and Full of Love; Meetings of Conciliation between Muslim and Jew, in Egypt: Part II

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Dr Omer Salem of Yale and AlAzhar Universities envisions a borderless world open to movement and communication between all peoples. A traditionalist Sunni Muslim, he studied Hebrew Bible at Yale and had his PhD dissertation supervised by Al-Azhar University Professors in Cairo. His thesis – acceptance of the People of the Book in Islam, a theme that is pulling in the opposite direction of the less embracing schools of thought in Islam today, schools which have been propped up of late more by politics than religious doctrine.

In this spirit, Salem invited Rabbi Dr. Yaakov Nagen, Fullbright Scholar Dr. Jospeh Ringel, and myself to meet his colleagues in Egypt. Impossible! My smart aleck retort was, “sure I will catch the next train.” But within two weeks we were on Egyptian soil and in earnest dialogue with some of the best minds of Cairo today. Here is a small glimpse of what we dream will be many more encounters.

Al Azhar University was founded by the Fatimids in the tenth century CE and is the oldest university in the world still functioning. Today it is considered the center of Islamic and Arabic scholarship. The university administers about 4000 teaching institutes and a system of schools with about two million students nation-wide.

Enter the campus, humanity’s stunning variety greets you in the beauty of all its rainbow colors – Indonesians, Africans, black, white, some in western dress, some in traditional garb. This richness accompanied us to professor Awad’s office – an enormous room which over the next two and a half hours would host our marathon discussion, with students and faculty entering and exiting, some participating, some just listening. The atmosphere was respectful and congenial throughout, albeit the discussion veering into some very sensitive subjects.

Before our arrival, we debated an essential question – how can the Muslim ummah – nation – accept Jews? Assuming that the hurdles were largely theological, we discussed the approach that Jews can take to Muhammad; a Navi, prophet, has vastly different connotations in Jewish thought than in Islamic thought. Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik’s essay, “Confrontation” presents an illustration of how essential terms cannot be imported and exported across cultures, indeed, meaning is lost in translation. In Judaism, a Navi can be false and even wicked, as in the case of Bilaam (Book of Numbers). So when Muslims ask Jews, “Do you think Muhammad was a prophet?” the connotations differ vastly. What we can say is that prophecy for the nation of Israel ended with the prophet Malachi, but that does not mean that prophecy stopped for all nations. In the spirit of the Rambam, who dwelled in Egypt as physician and Rabbi, we can appreciate that Muhammad spread monotheism globally, and that he could indeed be a prophet for the other nations of the world.

We would see however that the theological hurdle is in fact not the greatest stumbling block to reconciliation.

“Welcome, welcome!” Dr Awad beckoned, along with staff and students flanking him. The men were removing their shoes, should I? Do women remove their shoes as well? They do, but I can remain shod if I choose. Both equality of women and free choice are basic premises in Islam, the professor would make quite clear. But that is not my emphasis just yet, I have something more important for you to hear.

Professor Awad’s thesis was on the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. He emphasized that dialogue is a primary tenet of Islam. “The Qur’an commands us as Muslims to engage in dialogue to reach truth.” He stated.

“The differences between people are G-d given.” And he quoted, “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. .” Qur’an 49:13. (Arabic: لتعارفوا) Lita’arafu – to know each other. You can respect Islam and the prophet and the Qur’an, without necessarily following the sharia of Islam, and that is your right.”

He added, “There is no coercion in religion,” Qur’an 2:256

“Muslims are commanded to study the teachings of the prophet Moses. For you, learning about Muhammad is merely optional. That is an expression of tolerance inherent in Islam. The Qur’an has provided solutions for so many problems in the world, and it commanded Jews to judge according to their own Torah. This is evidence that the Qur’an is a very neutral, objective book. Jews have a right to study the Qur’an without anyone judging whether they believe in it or not. You are indeed welcome to read it with your good intention.”

Jewish Press contributor, Rebecca Abrahamson in front of Al Azhar University

Jewish Press contributor, Rebecca Abrahamson in front of Al Azhar University

I introduced myself as a Haredi woman, and added that I had traveled with the agreement of my husband and the blessing of my Rabbi. There I had braved it all the way to Egypt, overcoming personal and societal hurdles. I made that statement in order to express a living traditional value and to pave the way for more fundamentalist Muslim and Jewish women to join in social activism. When fundamentalist women act, they move large areas, they bring whole families and societies with them. And we know that we are not docile followers. I love the story from an African-American fundamentalist church in the southern United States, a woman stood up and challenged her preacher, “that’s not written in my Bible!” Fundamentalist women are in dynamic dialogue with their family and leaders. When we act, we actually move large areas of ground.

But I liked the professor’s response:

He looked at me a little sharply, “Women and men are equal. The only difference is she has a right to be provided for.” Then he ticked off her rights on his fingers, “she has freedom of work, dignity, employment, she may divorce, and she does not need her husband’s permission to travel.” I smiled inside.

Then the professor touched upon difficult subjects, and though his tone remained respectful, his passion and concern was evident. Something was irking him, it was clear.

Discovering a Stumbling Block

He wondered at the verse in the Torah that declares Canaan as cursed – where is the justice in that? All have free will, how can anyone be cursed from birth? “Certainly you are accountable for what you do.” (Qur’an 16:93) He wondered why Jews do not proselytize to other nations, is that an uncaring approach? And, with equal passion, Dr Awad questioned how the revelation at Sinai could have been in Hebrew – the Jews had just exited Egypt? This final question was expressed with as much concern as the previous two, though I felt that whatever language was spoken at the time of the Revelation at Sinai was surely less important that wondering if Judaism is discriminatory.

Rabbi Nagen responded – “you have raised the most important questions. My whole life I am searching for answers to these questions. We know that holy books sometimes have verses that seem troubling. For me, the verse that is most important is that all of humanity has one father and is in the image of God. Anything that seems to contradict this puzzles me and we struggle with it. We know that with both Torah, Gospel and Qur’an, people can quote verses to do great good or not good. Our task is to find a way to teach good from the Torah and Qur’an. The question is – what is the rule and what is the exception? What is the context? I read the Qur’an and I know that every sura begins with All-h is Rachman. If I find a verse that seems violent, I know this must be talking about a particular context and it’s not the rule. I have hundreds of students; I interpret the Torah and Talmud. I organized a prayer rally to protest the alleged arson attack in Kfar Dumas. I am part of a group of a thousand Rabbis, we put out a thirty page pamphlet that was read in synagogues that week.”

The professor could not be placated, there was something nagging at him. And then it came out:

“We as Muslims are not asked to judge others; however we cannot accept oppression by one people over another people or making mockery of one over the other.”

So that was it. Agree or disagree, this was the professor’s central concern, and it was echoed in our meetings with Dr Aly El-Samman, former advisor to Anwar Sadat, and with Professor Wagee AlShamy of Dar Oloom College in AlFayoum, a city south of Cairo.

Indeed, Dr Wagee Al-Shamy asked us to proclaim this message – “tell your people: the state of the Palestinian Arabs is of great concern to us. That is the real stumbling block to normalization. Please ease their plight; that will pave the road to better relations between our peoples.”

Agree or disagree, that was the message we heard throughout our trip. So it is not scripture or theology that divides. Negative light is shed upon Judaism when Israel is seen as oppressing its Arab residents. Looking for the cause of the injustice, our scriptures are held up as possibly blameworthy.

But is this not how we feel when presented with injustices wrought by other cultures? Do we not point to the source of an ‘Other’s’ impropriety as based in their basic tenets? As much as what I am saying may sting, and we can certainly feel the call to defend Israel’s need for self defense, or the real meaning of holy writ, we need to consider – if this is what prominent Egyptian Muslims are saying, and even asking us to proclaim this, it does mean that the situation is a lot more hopeful than if stumbling blocks to normalization were scripture and theology.

So what are we to do? Embark on a grand-scale hasbara (explanation) campaign? There are better places we can put our energy; injustices are best addressed, in my husband Ben Abrahamson’s words – by establishing joint Jewish-Islamic religious courts. They existed in Yemen, and they can exist now. This gives both Muslim and Jew a feeling of a common language. Once injustices are addressed in a framework that both sides revere, the view changes. The diamond tossed up to the light reflects various hues, constantly changing as it turns before the sun, yet the diamond remains the same. We do not have to change our very being; we just need to address concerns where all parties are heard in the language they revere the most.

“Show me the fatwa.”

Ben was once speaking to a sheikh who was criticizing Israel. Ben said simply, “show me the fatwa.” Instead of relying on media reporting, Ben challenged the sheikh to find an Islamic court which has investigated an allegation of injustice and issued a fatwa – ruling. Knowing of none, they both relaxed and fruitful discussion followed.

The best hasbara campaign to defend Israel and Judaism will never really be enough; there is not the trust and common language needed for such efforts. The gap can be bridged not via hasbara, which is likely to fall upon deaf ears, but via joint courts. Joint Jewish-Islamic courts will succeed in striving for justice, trust building, and an expanded narrative that finally will include all residents of the Holy Land. It will be a huge relief to us all.

We had been welcomed by the professors at AlAzhar in warmth and parted with love and hopes of future dialogue. Yes, things can get rocky in discussion, but if you believe that the Other is coming from an honest place, then only the late hour and weariness born from a marathon conversation brings it to a close.

And we will work for more such encounters. We must.

(Left) Rabbi Yaakov Nagen with Dr Joseph Ringel,

(Left) Rabbi Yaakov Nagen with Dr Joseph
Ringel,

Rebecca Abrahamson

Israeli Jew Convicted of Murdering of Jerusalem Muslim Teen

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

by Michael Bachner/TPS The Jerusalem District Court convicted Yosef Chaim Ben David, 29, on Tuesday morning of the abduction and murder of Jerusalem Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir in July 2014. The teen was on his way to a mosque in his neighborhood, Shuafat, when he was kidnapped. The incident rattled the region and played a key role in escalating the tensions leading up to the summer war in Gaza.

Ben David, from the community of Adam, was the central suspect in the murder, along with two minors. His verdict was delayed by several months to determine his mental state, following claims by his lawyers that he was mentally ill and not responsible for his actions.

The court, however, ruled that Ben David “was not in a psychotic state, fully understood what he was doing, had control over his actions and had the ability to refrain from committing the crime.”

Abu Khdeir was 16 years old when he was abducted and burned alive in Jerusalem by the three Israeli Jews. The murderers claimed they wanted to avenge the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens by Hamas terrorists just days earlier. The two atrocities sent tensions soaring between Israelis and Arabs from the Palestinian Authority and Gaza, culminating in the IDF’s 2014 Gaza campaign, Operation Protective Edge.

Ben David’s two nephews, 16 and 17 years old, were convicted in January of committing the murder along with him. One of them received a life sentence. The other was sentenced to 21 years in prison after the court ruled that he played a lesser role in the murder.

Before the verdict, Abu Khdeir’s father Hussein called on the Israeli government to demolish the homes of his son’s murderers, in keeping with Israeli policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinian Authority terrorists. “We need justice from the court,” he said. “These murderers should have their homes demolished. Such people cannot be granted parole. He needs to serve a life sentence.”

Following the conviction, the state prosecution released a statement saying that Ben David committed the murder “out of nationalistic vengeful motives, also dragging his underage relatives with him who participated in the heinous crime and were sentenced to many years behind bars.”

In the Palestinian Authority and in Gaza, people celebrate the murders of Israeli Jews, honking car horns and passing out sweets to strangers in the streets when an attack has taken place.

Public squares, special events and streets are named for especially “successful” terrorists so their deeds will be remembered and glorified for future generations.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Muslim Swedish Housing Minister Kaplan Resigns after Comparing Israel to Nazis

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Mehmet Kaplan (apparently no Jewish relation), 44, Sweden’s housing minister, resigned this week over comments he had made comparing Israel’s treatment of Arabs to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.

The Turkish-born Kaplan, a Green Party member, former spokesman of Sweden’s Muslim Council, and a passenger on the “Freedom Flotilla” that tried to break through the IDF security blockade of Gaza in 2010, denied any wrongdoing, saying he was resigning because public and media criticism were interfering with his ability to do his job. He said he opposed “all forms of extremism, whether nationalistic, religious or in any other form” and supported “human rights, democracy and dialogue.”

Swedish TV fished out footage of Kaplan from seven years ago, where he says, “Israelis treat Palestinians in a way that is very like that in which Jews were treated during Germany in the 1930s.”

Israeli ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman described Kaplan’s comments as “deeply anti-Semitic.” Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallström—remember her?—said the comments were “terrible.”

Wallström was embroiled in a housing scandal last year. Not connected to Kaplan.

“Let me be clear: [my resignation] is not a confirmation of reports about me that I consider wrongful. I know who I am and what I have done,” Kaplan told reporters in Stockholm. He had also come under fire a week ago, after Swedish media published photos of him dining with Turkish Swedish leaders, including the local leader of an ultra-nationalist group called Gray Wolves.

In 2014 Kaplan compared the young Muslims from Sweden who went to fight for ISIS in Syria with the Swedes who fought for Finland against Russia in WW2.

JNi.Media

Protected-Christians in Muslim Lands

Monday, April 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, The Ettinger Report}

Bethlehem’s Christian Arab leaders lobbied Israel against transferring the city to the Palestinian Authority. Thus, in 1993, on the eve of signing the Oslo Accord, the Christian mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, urged Israel’s Prime Minister Rabin to annex Bethlehem into Greater Jerusalem – as it was under the Ottoman, British and Jordanian rule of the area – predicting that “transferring Bethlehem to the Palestinian Authority would relegate it to a town of many churches, but devoid of Christians.” Before Oslo, the Christian mayor of Beit Jala – Bethlehem’s twin town – Farah al-Araj, told the NY Times syndicated columnist, William Safire: “The PLO will force a wave of Christian emigration, making Belize in Central America a home for more Beit Jala Christians then left in Beit Jala.” In 1967, shortly following the Six Day War, then Christian Mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Bandak, warned Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan: “An Israeli failure to annex Bethlehem into Greater Jerusalem would doom the city’s Christian character.”

Since the 1993 establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the Christian majorities of Ramallah – Mahmoud Abbas’ headquarters – Bethlehem and Beit Jala have been transformed into insignificant minorities, due to physical, social, economic, legal and political intimidation. More Christian emigrants from these towns reside in Latin America than Christians remaining there.

The violent discrimination of Christians has been a systematic feature of the Muslim/Arab societies. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, Christians were murdered, expelled or converted until the tenth century. Currently, non-Muslims cannot become Saudi citizens and Christians working in – or visiting – Saudi Arabia are not allowed to worship, or display Christian items (Bibles, crucifixes, statues, carvings, etc.), openly. While the Egyptian President, General Sisi, has attempted to minimize the traditional intimidation of Egypt’s Coptic Christian (10%) minority – which possesses ancient Pharaonic roots – the abduction of Coptic females has been routine and Copts face deep-seated discrimination in all walks of life. Moreover, conversion to Christianity is prohibited under Islam. While physical assaults on Coptic communities were a daily occurrence during the brief rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, it has become a monthly event under General Sisi.

The persecution of Christians in Arab lands is based on the teachings of Muhammad, which dominates the social, political, cultural, judicial, military and educational aspects of the Muslim Middle East. Therefore, the political establishments in the Muslim/Arab countries are not secular in the Western sense. According to the Quran, Jews and Christians – “the people of the book” who rejected Islam – transgressed egregiously, were the enemies of God, were rejected by God, causing Judaism and Christianity to be replaced by – and subordinated to – Islam, the only legitimate and inherently supreme religion. Islam commands Muslims to pursue the domination of the “House of Islam” over the “House of the infidel,” which includes Christians. Hence, the centrality of Jihad, the holy war.

A typical reference, by the Quran, to Christians and other “infidels,” appears in Surah (chapter) 5, verses 60 & 86: “God cursed and blustered those whom he transformed to apes [Jews] and pigs [Christians]…. The infidels shall inherit hell….”

The submission of Christians and other “infidels” to Islam was further institutionalized under the seventh century “Pact of Omar,” which severely restrained and humiliated Christians – and later extended to other “infidels” – consistent with the Quran.

In fact, the legalized-persecution and scapegoating of Christians are in accordance with the Muslim concept of “Dhimmis,” who are the non-Muslim citizens in Muslim lands. As stipulated by the Islamic code of law (the Sharia’) they are subordinated to, and protected by, Islam, as long as they accept Islamic supremacy. The attitude towards the Dhimmis is specified in the Quran, Surah 9, verse 29: “Fight the people who received the book [Jews and Christians] – who do not adhere to the truthful religion [Islam] – until they pay the Jizya [“infidel” tax], while they are humiliated.” Non-Muslim citizens are faced with three choices: conversion to Islam, accepting Dhimmitude or death/execution.

Since the 1683 defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the gates of Vienna, Islam has declined dramatically, witnessing the rise to global domination by the “infidel, inferior and arrogant” Christian world, and alarmed by the penetration of “infidel” ideologies and values into the Abode of Islam. This perceived-humiliation has led to tectonic eruptions of Islamic rage and terrorism, aimed at regaining the, supposedly, inherently supreme, megalomaniacal status of Islam.

Also, the Islamic religious and political establishments consider the “infidel” Christian/Western modernity and civil liberties clear, present and lethal threats, which fuel endemic domestic instability. Furthermore, the recent erosion of Western posture of deterrence, as well as the Western appeasement and retreats have provided a tailwind to the Islamic surge, fueling the anti-Christian/Western Islamic rage, in spite of the generally pro-Arab Christian/Western policy (including the US arms embargo during Israel’s War of Independence, while the British supplied arms to the Arabs; punishing Israel for destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor; pressuring Israel to re-divide Jerusalem; President Obama’s courting of Muslim regimes and condemnation of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies).

While most of the Christian/Western world pressures Israel to accept Palestinian demands, a common battle cry in Palestinian Authority-inspired rallies is: “After Saturday comes Sunday,” which communicates a Muslim warning to Christian minorities throughout the Arab World: Muslims will do away with Christians after they have dealt with the Jews!

As befits the fate of Dhimmis, churches, convents, monasteries, Christian cemeteries, schools, homes, land and Christian women in the Palestinian Authority are subject to desecration, destruction, burning, confiscation, intimidation, rape and harassment. For example, in April-May, 2002, Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity – with its priests and nuns – was hijacked, looted and booby-trapped, for 39 days, by 200 Palestinian terrorists.

The 1970-1982 PLO/Palestinian terror surge in Lebanon accelerated the flight of Lebanese Christians, reducing them from the ruling sector to a dwindling minority. Since 1993, the Palestinian Authority intimidation of Christians has intensified the flight of Christians. However, the Vatican and most Christian/Western governments have – knowingly – sacrificed the religious and civil liberties of Christian minorities – and their very existence – on the altar of wishful-thinking, political-correctness and appeasement.

{Yoram will be in the US during May and September, 2016, available for speaking engagements}

Yoram Ettinger

Exclusive: German Source Warns Jews in Danger as Anti-Migrant Movement Grows Violent

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

German Jewry is beginning to worry about anti-Semitism again, and according to a local source, it’s long past due time that they did.

In an exclusive interview with a peace activist from Germany, JewishPress.com learned this week that the threat to Jews in the country is rising steadily.

Right-wing extremists and neo-Nazi groups are increasing in popularity, albeit with their initial banner raised against the flood of refugees and migrants streaming into Germany from across Europe.

The activist, a German visitor to Israel, told JewishPress.com on condition of anonymity – is that a backlash is beginning among the German population which is starting to blame its “migrant population” on “the Jews.”

It has taken a while, but Joseph Schuster, president of the country’s Central Council of Jews also expressed the community’s concern in an interview published Saturday in the Sueddeutsche Zetung.

“The political mood in our society is clearly drifting off to the right,” Schuster told the newspaper, noting rising tensions over the steady flow of migrants into the country. Although Schuster told the paper he does not believe the Jews will immediately leave en masse, he did warn that many will “consider” it.

“It must be clear to the people that come to us that anti-Semitic behavior will not be tolerated,” Schuster said. He called on the government to teach the migrants – most of whom are Muslims – to recognize the State of Israel in their cultural integration courses “because among the refugees is a significant proportion of Arab people who have grown up with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel stereotypes.”

While it is true that many attacks on Jews in Europe over the past several years have been traced to Muslim immigrants, that has by no means ever been the source of anti-Semitism on the continent. Adolf Hitler was Austrian, not Syrian. Let’s not confuse the two.

According to the German source there have been weekly anti-migrant demonstrations by German native-born citizens in Leipzig for months already. On the secular New Year, when parties were going “full blast” the central downtown area was “empty, spooky, with no police coverage whatsoever because all the police were out dealing with attacks.

This New Year’s Eve, gangs of young migrant men sexually assaulted countless young women in mass attacks in Cologne and other German towns, according to France24 and myriad other international media. Last year Germany absorbed 1.1 million migrants and the nation’s citizens are reportedly livid with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open door policy for the refugees.

“That night saw hundreds of assaults – it was the first time the media could not hide the facts about migrant violence and German violence in response,” the source said.

Riots were also been carried out by an extremist group known to international police as the neo-Nazi “football hooligans.” The group has branches throughout Europe – in Sweden as well as in Germany.

In Leipzig two weeks later they seized the opportunity to start a rampage during a march by supporters of the anti-migrant Pegida movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.) The local Pegida group in Leipzig is known as Legida.

“Merkel take your Muslims with you and go,” read one of the placards at a Legida protest.

Also in January, at least 250 neo-Nazis traveled by car to the Leipzig suburb of Connewitz from “all over the state of Saxony,” according to the World Socialist Web Site, which described a scene of “fascist terror.”

According to a report posted by the Peipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ), the “horde of neo-Nazis” were “goose-stepping” through the district and then began a “rampage of violence” with large stones they had clearly brought with them.

Hana Levi Julian

Washington State Synagogue Statue Defaced with Swastika

Friday, December 25th, 2015

Vandals spray-painted a swastika on a statue outside an Olympia, Washington synagogue, and an anti-Semite punched an Orthodox Jewish student in the face in two high-profile hate attacks in the United States this week.

The college student was treated on the scene, with the help of a Muslim woman student. The attacker fled.

The statue in Washington stands outside Olympia’s Temple Beth HaTfiloh.

Seth Goldstein, the temple’s spiritual leader wrote in a blog post:

A swastika is not mere vandalism — it is a symbol of hatred with deep resonance with Jews and shakes us to our core, especially in a community in which we are constantly reminded of our minority status.

The incident at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College occurred when an unidentified black man bumped into an Orthodox Jewish student from behind. When the student turned around, the attacker punched him twice in the face and stomach while snarling at him for being “white and Jewish.”

College President Rudy Crew seemed to be thrilled at the chance to be politically correct and boast how a Muslim helped an Orthodox Jew.

He said:

The fact that a Muslim woman came to the defense of an orthodox Jewish man is a true reflection of the values that permeate this great institution.

Is it really such a tremendous event in the United States when a Muslim helps a Jew?

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Canadian Synagogue Invites Muslims in after Mosque Firebombed

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

(JNi.media) The Beth Israel synagogue in Peterborough, Central Ontario, Canada, invited Muslim worshipers at the Masjid al-Salaam mosque to pray in their building, after it had been firebombed on Nov. 14 by arsonists, Canadian media reported. The damage to the mosque was estimated at $80 thousand.

On Saturday night, the synagogue’s website published an announcement stating, “Yesterday, Friday November 27, Beth Israel became a house of worship for the local Muslim community.” On Friday, Beth Israel hosted two prayer sessions for local Muslims and a potluck dinner.

Beth Israel Synagogue president Larry Gillman told CBC, “As Canadians we have to stick together. It’s not about religion, it’s not about race. Canadians do this.” According to CBC, as soon as Gillman heard about the fire at the mosque, he reached out to his synagogue’s board of directors to find out about sharing space with the Muslim congregation. They voted unanimously in favor. “I hope this can be some kind of small example to others,” Gillman said.

Kenzu Abdella, the president of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association, told CBC, “In the beginning, it was a shock. Within 24 hours, that changed. They walked to the mosque and told us that whatever we need, they will support us. Even though it came out of a tragedy, we are working together.”

The invitation to the synagogue was the first meeting between Abdella and Gillman. Since then, Gillman has given a speech at the Muslim Institute of Toronto and his synagogue has become part of an interfaith group working to sponsor Syrian refugees to come to Canada.

“We have more similarities than differences,” Abdella told CBC. “We have so much in common — the details of worship and the ceremonies. Even the stories we hear are similar. At the end of the day, it’s a house of God.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/canadian-synagogue-invites-muslims-in-after-mosque-firebombed/2015/11/29/

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