Here’s one thing ISIS has contributed to religious discourse: inquiries by strangers about one’s religion are no longer welcome. A case in point has to do with two Muslim women wearing hijabs, who entered a Miami Beach Orthodox synagogue this week and asked many questions, saying they were on a spiritual quest, and scared some members of the congregation who called police, as WSVN Miami Beach, Fla. Reported Wednesday.
The two women approached Shay Zamora, a member of the synagogue who was sitting outside the sanctuary and started to interrogate him. “The questions basically were, ‘What are the lecture times here and when do people come for lectures?'” said Zamora. “It was very odd. They actually, eventually, conveyed to me, that they were Muslim.”
Then one of the women took out a Koran. “I explained the similarities, that Arabic is also written from right to left,” Zamora said.
According to a police incident report, the women asked their Jewish host, “Did you have services already?” and “when are you saying Yizkor?”
Yizkor, a prayer commemorating the dead, is recited only on Torah holidays, usually on the last day of the holiday.
Zamora escorted the two women outside and then called security, just to be on the safe side. “I was trying to understand the purpose of all this,” he said. “The purpose of the engagement, the purpose of the content of the conversation.”
According to WSVN, the same two women visited the same synagogue on Friday of last week, and also asked questions of the members. Police told the CBS affiliate they believe one of the women has terminal cancer and she and her mother have been visiting different houses of worship to learn about different religions, possibly to receive divine healing.
North Miami Beach Police released a statement saying, “At this point, we don’t believe there is a public safety threat.”
Rabbi Yona Lunger told the TV station, “We gotta’ be vigilant, we can’t be vigilantes.”
Which is as sensible a conclusion as one could venture at this point.