Saturday, June 28, 2008

Exploiting the Muslim- Jewish divide,0,392276.story

From the Los Angeles TimesAnother wedge issue Exploiting the Muslim- Jewish divide is the wrong way to win votes.

By Salam Al-Marayati and Steven B. Jacobs
June 26, 2008

There's a disturbing trend in this 2008 election. We are witnessing the manipulation and exploitation of Muslim-Jewish differences by political candidates in pursuit of votes. As advocates for our respective communities, we believe it's in America's interest that it stop.
It appears that the political logic of the candidates and their handlers calls for winning Jewish American support at the expense of Muslim American voters. This takes the shape of aggressive outreach to the Jewish community while Muslims go ignored. That strategy may be politically expedient, but it is inherently flawed. Muslims see their exclusion as a betrayal of American values, and many Jews are alarmed by the parallels to their own historical political exclusion.
American Jews are all too familiar with institutionalized bigotry. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Rep. John Rankin opposed the immigration of Holocaust survivors, and he opposed integration. In that McCarthyite, anti-Communist era, politicians clamped down against those who they thought threatened the changing fabric of America -- namely, Jews. Now, Muslims are on the receiving end of similar suspicions, this time in the name of fighting terrorism.

Muslims today are political scapegoats associated with global tragedies including terrorism and war. Against this dismal backdrop, politicians are apparently deeming Muslim voters political pariahs; any endorsement from national Muslim groups is tantamount to a kiss of death.
Just one day after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton dropped out of the Democratic race, Sen. Barack Obama rushed to receive the blessing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Last week, his campaign volunteers rushed to remove Muslim women wearing head scarves from a Detroit rally. Though Obama apologized, Muslims felt stung by a candidate supposedly running on a platform of inclusion and change.

But the snubs aren't limited to Obama. Sen. John McCain recently dismissed a Muslim American businessman from an important campaign committee. In March, McCain visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem but made no similar visit to the adjacent Muslim holy site, the Dome of the Rock. And although both candidates have made frequent stops at churches and synagogues, neither has made a campaign stop at a mosque.

Put on the spot about turning their backs on Muslim voters, politicians may argue that they can't afford to lose Jewish support, implying that the Jewish community would oppose any politician who associates with Muslims.

To be sure, the politicians aren't inventing a division between Muslims and Jews. We acknowledge the tension between our communities created by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And yet it is also clear that Jews and Muslims should be natural allies in countering xenophobia and hysteria. We both suffer from scapegoating as fear works against common sense in our political culture. Whether it is anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, we both know the face of bigotry.
The issue of excluding Muslims to get Jewish votes is not about ensuring domestic security, it is about cowardly politics. It is about playing to fears, not processing facts. It is about the canard that Muslims and Jews have been fighting since ancient times and nothing will change. It is about blaming both for America's problems. We Muslims and Jews, along with all people of faith, represent the spirit of God. There is much that binds us together. It is in the spirit of this shared history, and our common interests, that we must stand against these divisions being created by the candidates.

Abraham Lincoln argued against the politics of fear, holding out hope for the 'better angels of our nature.' Our presidential candidates must display such higher thinking in the coming months. Likewise, we -- American Jews and Muslims -- must do the same.

Salam Al-Marayati is the executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Steven B. Jacobs, a rabbi, is the founder of the Progressive Faith Foundation. Both are members of the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.