More results...

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

More results...

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Muslim Gesture of Goodwill Towards the Sons of Monkeys and Pigs?

Islam Online reports on a letter from Muslim scholars to the world’s Jewish community.

A galaxy of prominent Muslim scholars and interfaith experts issue on Monday, February 25, an open letter for the world’s Jewish community calling for a dialogue to improve relations between Jews and Muslims who have common ground of shared beliefs.

“This letter is intended as a gesture of goodwill towards rabbinic leaders and the wider Jewish communities of the world,” reads the document.

“Its aim is to build upon existing relations to improve mutual understanding and to further the positive work in building bridges between Muslims and Jews.”

The letter is signed by Muslim scholars at the London-based Center for the Study of Muslim–Jewish Relations (CMJR) with the support of Muslims scholars throughout the world.

Signatories include Professor Akbar Ahmed, chair of the Islamic Studies at the American University in Washington and former High Commissioner of Pakistan to Britain, and renowned Swiss Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan.

The letter recognizes that tensions in today’s world have worsened the relations between followers of the two faiths.

“Many Jews and Muslims today stand apart from each other due to feelings of anger, which in some parts of the world, translate into violence,” it notes.

“Deep-seated stereotypes and prejudices have resulted in a distancing of the communities and even a dehumanizing of the ‘Other’.

“We urgently need to address this situation.”

It is not the first time Muslim scholars have taken the initiative to initiate dialogue with other religions.

In October of least year, 138 Muslim scholars and dignitaries addressed an open letter to the world’s Christian clergy, including Pope Benedict XVI, for dialogue

Commonalities

The new Muslim letter highlights the commonalities between Islam and Judaism, two Abrahamic faiths.

“There is more in common between our religions and peoples than is known to each of us,” it says.

“Judaism and Islam are both monotheistic religions whose followers believe in the absolute unity of the One and Only God.”

The letter cites a wide range of other similarities that extend from core beliefs to dietary restrictions.

“Jews and Muslims both have elaborate and comparable codes of conduct, laws and jurisprudence, covering all aspects of life.

“The importance of charity (sadaka, tsedaka) is pertinent to the value system of each tradition. Even the dietary procedures (halal and kosher) are comparable.”

The Muslim letter calls for highlighting the “positive encounters” between Jews and Muslims through out history.

“For many centuries our communities co-existed and worked together fruitfully and peacefully.

“There needs to be an awareness of positive encounters at different stages of our history.”

You can read the entire letter here.

While this seems like a positive development, I would not get too carried away by it.

  • Why is the letter signed in generic fashion “by Muslim scholars at the London-based Center for the Study of Muslim–Jewish Relations (CMJR) with the support of Muslims scholars throughout the world”? Even though Islam Online lists a number of specific signatories, they do not appear on the letter. Why is that? Could it be that they are afraid to openly espouse warm feelings towards the sons of monkeys and pigs?
  • Notice the lack of admission of culpability for terrorism in the world. The letter mentions “tensions in today’s world” which “have worsened…relations,” and “feelings of anger, which in some parts of the world, translate into violence,” as if these are phenomena equally prevalent amongst Muslims and Jews alike. Nowhere is there an acknowledgment that terrorists are using Islam to justify their actions, nor is there a condemnation of this terrorism.
  • The letter itself seems to point a finger at Israel when it states: “Most Muslims would hope that the suffering Jews have experienced would make them more sensitive to the sufferings of others, especially the Palestinians.”

I know I may sound overly cynical to some, but until high profile Muslim scholars openly acknowledge Islamic terrorism, condemn it in no uncertain terms, and do not attempt to rationalize it as a manifestation of justifiable anger, I will remain unimpressed.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Scroll to Top