Tuesday, September 30, 2008

King Abdullah’s Call for an Interfaith Dialogue is a Bold Step Forward Toward Reconciliation.

It is true and for the last decades there has been a number of organizations and steps taken to establish an “interfaith” dialogue especially between Muslims and Jews to augment the ongoing dialogue with the Christian community.

A quick “Google” search one can see scores of organizations that have been sponsoring such a dialogue between Muslims and Jews. With some organizations going to the texts of the Holy Quran and the Torah to show the commonality between the faiths rather than the difference. The “Beliefenet Community” is but one of those organizations.

The cold blooded murder of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist of the Jews faith at the hands of terrorists in Pakistan sparked much interest in the needs for a Muslim/Jewish dialogue especially within Pakistan, a country that has and continue today to be the breeding ground for terrorists who also happens to claim to be Muslims.

Akbar Ahmed and Judea Pearl have been conducting and for several years town hall meetings and dialogue between Muslims and Jews in eleven cities in the US, Canada and the UK, convinced that such a dialogue is a “necessary steps toward easing world tension” Two interesting sites to visit; www.commonground.com and www.jewishmuslimdialogue.org.

Other prominent organizations that have been in the vanguard promoting Jewish-Muslim dialogues is the Commission on Interreligious Affairs of Reform Judaism of Washington, DC www.interreligious@urj.org. The organization is promoting such dialogue under the slogan of “Children of Abraham, Jews and Muslims in Conversation” with a detailed guide on Muslim Jewish Dialogue. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union For Reform Judaism is spearheading such commendable efforts and has been very vocal and critical of the alliance with Christian Evangelical Zionism movement with over 70 million born again Christians who appose any peace or reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians and who have been lobbying the Bush-Cheney Administration and Congress against any efforts toward peace. The Group of Zionist Christians formed an alliance with Likudists within the leadership of the American Jewish Community the majority of whom are the brain behind the War on Iraq and who made sure there are no meaningful negotiations toward peace, since they are in charge of the US policy in the Middle East.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie expresses what we all share with each other “ Interconnected since the time of Abraham, we Jews and Muslims share much in common: ancient monotheistic faiths, cultural similarities and, as minority religions in North America, experiences with assimilation and discrimination. Having said that, there also exist profound ignorance between Jews and Muslims. Jews are well educated about Islam, and Muslims are not well educated about Judaism”. Rabbi Yoffie is so right. Lots of Muslims get their message from some criminals and murderers like Osama Bin Laden and Aymen Al-Dhawahri and lots of Jews get their views of Muslims from Fox News and the deranged Rabbis of the Israeli Settlers Movements who promote and gave “Jewish Fatwas” to the Israeli Defense Forces to kill and murder innocent civilians and who promote such terrorist ideologies in the hundreds of Yeshivas in Israel and in the US.

Of course many universities across the US have many centers and institutes dedicated to Christian-Muslim and interreligious dialogue. Among the leading universities in the US are Georgetown and Hartford Seminary. There are also many centers and institutes around the world such Center for the Study of Islam and Christianity-Muslim Relations in Birmingham, UK and Stiftelsen Abrahams barn: a foundation for multicultural education; focus on Judaism, Christianity, Islam of Stockholm, Sweden and the Chrisrtian-Islamische Gessellshaft, a German Christian-Muslim Association. While Europe seems to have more open mind about such dialogues, the biggest problem and obstacle for dialogue and reconciliation between Muslims and Jews and Muslims and Christians is the hostility toward Islam of the more than 70 million Christian Evangelical Zionists who teamed with right wing leaders of the American Jewish Community and the Likud Party. I doubt if there is a chance of a meaningful dialogue with these die hard Christian Crusaders who are gearing up for their last Crusade against the Infidel Muslim to liberate the Holy Land from the Arabs and with active political and financial support to Israel as it proceed to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from Jerusalem. The agenda of these Christian Zealots and Jesus Armies is to wage a 100-year war with Muslims and they are gaining lots of grounds in the US.

The importance of King Abdullah interfaith dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims lies in the fact that the calls came from the Custodian Of the Two Holy Mosques who for all practical and realistic purpose is the head of the Muslim faith due to his position as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia and to his position of prominence and leadership with the Muslim and Arab world. When he talks others listen and when he calls for such a dialogue his call is taken seriously with expected results. From the feed back I read in Haaretz, the Israeli news paper, even the most die hard Zionists took notice of King Abdullah’s call for Muslim-Jewish Dialogue and with many readers supporting such an initiative (by the way if one is to judge the opinions of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora one has to read the readers feed back. With such feed back no wonder there is no dialogue and certainly no peace).

Such dialogues should take place in a number of major cities within Europe, the US, in the Far East in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, and certainly in all major Arab cities such as Rabat, Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Cairo, Amman, Damascus, Beirut, Riyadh, Kuwait, Doha and Dubai. My advice to the leaders of the Muslim community is to read and understand Judaism and Christianity before coming to the Dialogue. Rabbis and Christian clergymen know more about Islam, the Holy Quran and Sharia with many international scholars. That is not the same for Muslim clergymen where few bother to read the Torah and the Bible thinking is a major sin, blasphemy to read such books. since reading the Bible and the Torah is not part of their education. As for the US, I am not so sure if the hundreds of millions of dollars of chairs and institutions funded by rich Arab businessmen and politicians made any difference. I simply do not see it. The US is becoming more and more hostile to Muslims and Islam. Just follow up the Evangelical Christian network of radio and TV to see that. Yes, King Abdullah’s step may make a difference and put the discussions on the right course.

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