Religion & Politics 03 May 2006 05:30 pm

Love of the common people

Muslims would do well to read the extremely frank post by Rabbi Tony Bayfeld - head of the Movement for Reform Judaism. Its an extraordinary appeal to fellow Jews to consider what the actions of Jews in the USA and Israel are doing for relations with ordinary Muslims. Its a heartfelt post that has been provoked by a friend who confronted him with two documents about the Project for the New American Century and the number of Jewish signatories on them.

Rabbi Bayfeld also mentions speaking to ordinary Muslims he met at an Islamic centre with whom he discussed the matter of Jewish/Muslim/Christian dialogue.

[Dr Siddiqui] was shocked and it led us into a discussion of the immense problem caused by the disparity in numbers. There are 2 billion Christians in the world, 1.2 billion Muslims and 14 million Jews. “How do we meet face to face?” he asked. How do we engage family man to family man in a cab and affirm our shared values? How do we share a passion for football and puzzle over why so many apparently sane people support Tottenham? How do we meet and dispel the image of the Jew as the evil conspirator when so much of the globe is bereft of Jews? It is a question that the Jewish world has to face up to.

This is bridge building. This takes guts and rare sensitivity. This is the kind of message that Muslims, dazed, defensive and confused, rarely, if ever, hear. The best possible outcome of a message like this would be that it pricks the conscience of Muslims, who in turn, return the message in kind. After all, Muslims (in Britain and abroad) have certainly not given Jews much reason to love them either. Nor have they taken the responsibility much of their own failures and, rather, pointed the finger at the usual scapegoat(s).

2 Responses to “Love of the common people”

  1. on 04 May 2006 at 7:02 am 1.sonia said …

    that’s interesting. yep it takes guts and reflexivity to say stuff like that. let’s hope it can be rewarded in kind as you say.

  2. on 04 May 2006 at 9:23 am 2.Siddhartha said …

    I hope so. The Muslim world have a lot to face up to. It also needs to have the guts to meet Jews like Rabbi Bayfeld halfway.

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