(RNS) Muslim tradition calls for breaking the Ramadan fast in the evening with a date and a sip of water, and increasingly these days, the company of Jews.

David Mattis, a Jew, embraces Sumaya Abubaker, a Muslim.

David Mattis, a Jew, embraces Sumaya Abubaker, a Muslim. RNS photo courtesy Chris Bacarella, via NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change

Muslim-Jewish iftars are popping up across the nation, bringing together dozens and sometimes hundreds of people for a celebratory Ramadan meal and a chance to forge interfaith friendships.

This Ramadan, as Jews and Muslims exchange rocket fire in Israel and Gaza, those attending these meals say they are all the more significant, as a way of demonstrating that Jews and Muslims have much in common, and can enjoy each others’ food and company.

In Los Angeles on Thursday (July 10), an iftar that bills itself as the single largest gathering of Muslims and Jews in the city, is sponsored by NewGround, an organization that works year-round on Muslim-Jewish relations. The group exists to build resilient relationships that both groups can draw upon in particularly difficult times, said Rabbi Sarah Bassin, NewGround’s former executive director.

“Yes, we are in another awful flare-up of violence and both of our communities are suffering,” Bassin said. “That will be acknowledged at the iftar.”

At next week’s “Iftar in the Synagogue” at Chicago Sinai Congregation, “we will try to figure out how we can deal with the tragedy overseas and move forward,” said Husna Ghani, management consultant at the Council of Muslim Organizations of Greater Chicago. “That’s the whole point.”

“There will probably be a lot of prayer,” she added.

Nearly 900 Muslims and Jews attended the Chicago event in 2012.

Ramadan, which began on June 29 this year, is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar, a time when Muslims focus intently on prayer, but also self-examination and charity. Muslims believe that God first revealed verses of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan. Fasting during the month begins at sunrise each day and lasts until sunset. Iftars — the meals eaten after sunset during Ramadan — feature special dishes and desserts — particular to the countries where the world’s 1 billion Muslims live — and can last until the wee hours.

It’s customary for Muslims to invite extended family and friends to share the evening meal — sometimes even pulling in people off the street. That invitation to fellowship has become a staple in Muslim-American life. Former President George W. Bush held the first Ramadan iftar at the White House in 2001. Before that, Bill and Hillary Clinton hosted parties marking Eid al-Fitr, the feast celebrating the end of Ramadan. President Obama has hosted an iftar each year he’s been in office.

At Muslim-Jewish iftars, particular attention is paid to food. In Los Angeles, the meal will be both halal and kosher, in keeping with both Muslim and Jewish dietary laws, which often overlap. Neither faith community eats pork, for example. Out of respect for Muslim tradition, no alcohol will be served.

Some of these interfaith Iftars will be hosted in mosques or other Muslims institutions — on Sunday (July 13), for example, at the Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies in Cary, N.C. Others will take place in synagogues.

NewGround’s iftar at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, for which more than 230 people signed up, is very intentionally held in a synagogue, said Bassin.

“The Jews feel comfortable going to a Jewish institution and the Muslims feel comfortable that they’re going to an iftar,” she said. “It puts everybody equally in and out of their comfort zone.”

“It’s usually a very good mix — almost down the middle — of Muslims and Jews,” said Aziza Hasan, who is Muslim, and the interim executive director of NewGround.

And they’re asked not to sit only with co-religionists. Instead, groups that include both Muslims and Jews, Bassin said, are given icebreaker questions appropriate to the occasion. For example, she said: “What’s your relationship to fasting,” a religious practice of both Muslims and Jews.

“Instead of being stuck in our silos, we’re actually reaching out to each other,” Hasan said.

YS/AMB END MARKOE

63 Comments

      • @Rashid.M,

        How can you say the “God of us all”?
        There would be No Religious Wars if that were even slightly arguable.

        You speak as if these religions are not fundamentally at war.
        By all means, throw out your Holy Books if they are worthless. We would all be better off.
        But according to Muslims, Jews and Christians
        There is NO universal God and that is what all the killing, suicide bombing and wars are about.

        ISLAM SAYS TO OTHERS:
        “The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.” (Surah 3:19)
        “Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it.” (Surah 2:216)
        “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51)

        JUDAISM SAYS TO OTHERS:
        “Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood.” (Jeremiah 48:10
        “Seize all the non-believers in Yahweh and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight…” (Numbers 25:1-9)

        CHRISTIANITY SAYS TO OTHERS:
        “To those who would not have me as their king, bring them to me and execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
        “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! …what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but division.” – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)
        “Jesus said…Except they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death.” (Rev:1:22)

        UNIVERSAL GOD?

        Each of these religions claims their God is THE Universal God ‘of all people’.
        Even if you could get a roomful of people to agree to put differences aside for a few days, you won’t get their children to do so. Or their grandchildren.

        Because until ‘The Holy Texts’ are referred to as ‘true’
        You will have killing in the name of Yahweh, Jesus and Allah
        And for no reason! Because none of them is real.

        • “How can you say the “God of us all”?”

          Max, as you’re someone who doesn’t believe in any god, I’m puzzled as to why you would even care at the distinction. That’s not to say you’re not entitled to a view. As am I, and my belief is that there is only one God who listens to us all regardless of which particular faith we do or don’t follow. My comment to the Chaplain came from past experience of encountering a view that the only true God was only accessible through the only true religion – that being the religion of the person who held such a view.

          No I don’t agree that religions are at war at all. All true religions, at their heart, promote peace. People may use interpretations of their religion to justify the unjustified. People without religion may use other rationales to justify the unjustified. The common factor is people and their low desires. Removing one potential rationale for injustice (i.e. religion) does nothing to stop it being replaced by another. But what it does do is ‘throw the baby out’ as well, i.e. deny everything positive offered by religion in a misguided attempt to achieve a supposed net benefit.

          Suffice to say your quotes from the Quran, as usual, lack context and explanation. I am of course happy to provide such if asked.

          • @Rashid.M,

            “But what it does do is ‘throw the baby out’ as well, i.e. deny everything positive offered by religion in a misguided attempt to achieve a supposed net benefit.”

            What is good in religion?
            That is exactly my point completely. There is no good IN religion.
            People are good DESPITE religion!

            What is the good?

            Love? – No. It isn’t love if it is compelled! Love is earned. Love is trust!
            Peace? – NO! It cannot be peace if it does not accept the other person! Religion is divisive.
            Kindness? – NO! It cannot be kind if it comes with strings attached! Religion always attaches strings.
            Empathy? – No. It cannot be compassionate if it is compelled and not trusted!

            Truth? – It cannot be truth if it is Based on lies.
            Jesus did not…
            Allah did not…
            and Yahweh did not….

            There is no reason to believe any of it.

            The Golden Rule: “Do not do Unto others as you would not have them do unto you.”
            No Gods are needed – they never were.
            The Golden rule predates all the religions of the world and is the oldest moral philosophy. We do not need Gods! They offer nothing but disaster.

    • Hey Chaplain,

      Did you hear the Joke about
      The Rabbi, the Priest and the Imam
      who walked into a bar
      and decided to try to be Atheists for the rest of the night?

      They had a good time.
      Instead of saying “God bless”
      They gave each other a hug and said, “let’s do this again tomorrow”.

    • Do you have any other hobbies than posting some bs on every single article on this site? No atheist sites for you to hang out at? No family or friends to spend time with instead?

      • @Guy,

        I happen to care about people. Especially victims of religion.
        I include the victims of Supreme court rulings
        where corporations like Hobby Lobby now get to have all the tax breaks, all the speech money can buy and they can hide it all behind religion, too.

        Gee, what could go wrong with stuff like that?

        Know why stuff like that keeps happening?
        Because too many millions of Atheists have not been speaking up.

        Religion is just dangerous hogwash.

      • @Garson Abuita,

        Religion is always made up. It is always whatever ‘you think’ it is.
        The problems start when you think you have “God on your side”.

        That is when everyone must run away.
        Religion is self-corrupting.

        “Kill the infidels” – Osama Bin Laden

  1. That is nice and how it should be.
    It’s sad and beyond my understanding how people keep starting hatred and baseless wars in the name of religion. No one with honest faith would go down that path. If the few crazy and egoistic ones weren’t among us, we would be living in peace.
    I hope more interfaith programs like this will spread around the country and the world.

    • @Guy,

      “It’s sad and beyond my understanding how people keep starting hatred and baseless wars in the name of religion.”

      Because the Bible:

      “Execute them in front of me.” – JESUS (luke 19:27)

      • I see you misinterpret and take this verse out of context almost daily. Any Christian knows that this parable you are taking this verse out of most definitely does not mean to execute anyone, but rather to put to work and utilize what you have been given by God so that His Kingdom will be glorified. The ones executed in this parable did nothing for the king (God), and refused to be grateful and put to use what he had given to them. There is no underlying message for us to take matters into our own hands and kill those around us, but rather to leave decisions like that for The Lord when He comes back. You may not believe He may come back personally, but given knowledge of the Bible and the context of the passage, you can clearly see that that is what this parable is intended to mean. It gets no one anywhere whenever you blatantly misuse verses to try and make your position look more reasonable. I haven’t seen you post a reasonable or truly explained thought on religion..just that your opinion is that it is poisonous for the world. Since you call out Christianity so often, as a Christian I would like to say that my religion and relationship with Jesus Christ, when not taken out of context for selfish gain (not by you, but by those who claim to follow it), is a breath of fresh air for this world that no other view or belief can give a person, city, country, or this world.

        • @hunter,

          “The ones executed did nothing for their king”

          Where is the love , understanding or kindness in ‘execute them.’?

          What morality is preached in capital punishment for such a small ‘crime’? – especially when god told you that he will not allow you to be perfect or even adequate in his sight?

          • But the ones “executed” in this parable symbolize those who are given a gift and refuse to do anything with it. They do not want to do what they can to make the king proud. They’re being blatantly disobedient to their king, as you can see when the king in verse 13 says “put this money to work until I come back”. Obviously, as I’ve stated in this conversation, this is a parable, and does not show something that really happened. The point of the parable is not how big or small the crime is, but the idea that the ones being punished were given an order by their king, and when given the gift of the minas, some disobeyed and completely went against what the king ordered of them. In light of my belief in God, this clearly shows me that we are given different gifts or strengths (something I think everyone realizes regardless of belief in religion), and we are to use those gifts for the good of our world, which is instructed by God. Failure to do your best to utilize your gift is disobedience and ungratefulness for what you have been given, and that (wasting your life, not helping others, and not utilizing your gifts) is a true tragedy, and a slap in the face to God. Of course this parable also reminds us that we do have shortcomings and we won’t always live up to what we are called to, and this in light of the vast glory and righteousness of God is worthy of capital punishment at the end of your life, but we have been given a savior to save us from this capital punishment. Now, of course that isn’t to say that if you spend your whole life metaphorically giving God the finger and not utilizing His gifts to you that you’re covered under grace, but we are reminded that the grace is what we need.

            I know that you have heard all of this over and over, but I really wanted to shed light on this parable and show that the size of the crime was certainly not the point of the parable.

      • And if you decide to respond and give me examples of what you believe to be wrong in the Bible, please give me the location in the Bible (as you usually do)

        • So when a Christian starts blabbering about how Islam is evil and takes Koran quotes out of context (like Leo), the reaction should be about the same.

          Amirite?

          • You are absolutely right. Education on a religion or belief should most certainly be acquired before reading 5-10 words and taking it out of context. That’s like when churches read in the Bible “bow to me, and I will give you all of the kingdoms of the earth”, and post it on their sign outside. When you read that entire passage, Satan is telling Jesus that he will give Jesus all the kingdoms if He bows to him. Or even the “execute them” that Atheist Max refers to.

            I will say, however, that in my limited time studying what the Koran says, there are passages that literally tell them to wage war with infidels. Now of course most Muslims do not follow this, but it is clearly shown and is not misinterpreted by those who have read it and criticized it. Surah 2:190-193 is an example where it is clearly stated to show aggression.

          • So you are a hypocrite. Its only a misrepresentation if its your own religion, but you feel free to make pat generalizations about other faiths in a similar fashion. The very thing you criticize Max doing. Only your assumption that the passages are clear and in context.

          • Hi Hunter.

            As you would no doubt be aware, critics of scripture often misconstrue and ignore through narrow interpretation, that which suits their bias. For you to infer that waging war with disbelievers, simply on the basis of their disbelief, and that it “is clearly shown and is not misinterpreted” and “is clearly stated to show aggression” in the following verses is an inaccurate and puzzling claim.

            “And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but do not transgress. Surely, Allah loves not the transgressors.

            And slay these transgressors wherever you meet them and drive them out from where they have driven you out; for persecution is worse than slaying. And fight them not in and near the Sacred Mosque until they fight you, then fight them. Such is the requital for the disbelievers.

            But if they desist, then surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until there is no persecution, and religion is professed only for Allah. But if they desist, then remember that no hostility is allowed except against the wrongdoers.” – Quran (2:191-194)

            I would contend that the commandment to fight those who violently transgress and persecute is not an act of aggression but a reaction of defence against those who do so on the basis of one’s belief. I would also contend that the proscription against continuing to fight against the transgressors and persecutors once they themselves have stopped, is a clear limitation to fighting only in defence and no further. This verse was revealed at a time when Islam was a new religion under physical attack by those who saw it as a potential threat to the orthodoxy of the time. But this verse was also revealed after the following verse which makes the conditions and reasons to engage in fighting even clearer:

            “Permission to take up arms is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged and Allah, indeed , has power to help them-

            Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly, only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ And if Allah had not repelled some people by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft remembered, would surely have been destroyed. And Allah will surely, help him who helps Him. Allah is, indeed, Powerful, Mighty” – Quran (22:40-41)

            There is no basis for construing these or the previous verses as a call to aggression.There is every reason to interpret them as a permission to defend freedom of religion from those who seek to violently destroy it.

  2. Atheist Max, Since the topic is Muslim/Jewish, why haven’t you picked quotes from those sacred books, namely, the Koran which states don’t take non-Muslims for friends, and there are plenty of examples in the Torah as well.

    • Just as we’ll you’re not Muslim Leo. Given your lazy method for reading the Quran, you’d make a poor, intolerant one. Every reference in the Quran to not taking friends is in the context of the group in question being in armed conflict with Muslims, or of them being hypocritical. There is no general prohibition on friendship as your post infers.

    • And yet prior to Word War 2, Muslm and Jewish communities coexisted for centuries peaceably in most of the world. Far less violently than Christian and Muslim or Christian and Jewish communities.

      Go figure.

  3. I hate to say this but, only in America.

    Unlike most of the world, Muslims and Jews are not either a powerful majority, a besieged community or actively discriminated enclave here.

    Despite the post 9/11 foibles, Muslims as a minority group are far more integrated, successful and upwardly mobile in the US than the rest of the developed world. Jews have a similar situation here.

    There is no history of the kind of sectarian conflicts between Muslims and others nor of the active persecution of Jews, that you see elsewhere. Bigotry against both groups is certainly there. But it never had the traction that it had in Europe or esewhere. The US is the place people came to to flee such things. Still is.

    If there is any place on the planet where you are likely to see sizable communities of Jews and Muslims living peaceably, away from the frays of the Midde East, it is the US.

    The optimist in me would like to say this sort of event is not surprising in US.

  4. Larry, some may question the comparison between the relatively young nation that is the US, and the much longer and complicated religious history of Europe. Europe’s geographical proximity to the origins of the three Abrahamic faiths is also relevant. That being said, I think the US’s commitment to religious plurality, multiculturalism and freedom of expression have all undoubtedly been major factors in its relative success. If these values and principles are replicated through leadership elsewhere, I too have optimism that peaceful coexistence will similarly be very possible.

    • Much of the success of the US came from specifically avoiding many cultural/political aspects of Europe.

      The blueprint is there.
      -Banning government established religion

      -Government protection for free exercise of all religion (headscarf bans will not fly in the US at all)

      -Culturally not associating nationality with race, ethnicity or religion

      -Fully developed immigration and naturalization policies (the guestworker nonsense of Europe does not work)

      -Citizenship by birth.

      All of this only works in a democratic government. Dictatorships are far too willing to exploit cultural/religious divides to solidify power. They do not have a vested interest in peace. Such things give people time to contemplate their condition and ask too many questions.

  5. Sir, Look for many quotes from “The Koran”, and I will enjoy your “personal” explication.
    Islam has been unprovokedly aggressive since its inception in 622 with the intention of conquering all of the west in 711; it attempted to conquer Spain, only to be repelled by Charles Martel in France. It has never stopped, and it never will because it claims to own all the truth. This is stated, and I will cite the texts.
    No, I do not believe, as many others also believe, that we worship the same God.
    The problem is not ONLY a religious one; it is a cultural one and a one which is divisive because of great differences in values.

    • Hi Leo. Thankyou for at least making your position a little clearer. It’s been difficult to glean the raison d’être for your frequent curt statements of antipathy towards Islam. When I consider what Islam is or isn’t, I too use ‘texts’, i.e. primary sources, the Quran being the most primary of these.

      In my reading of the Quran, I find it antithetical to any idea that, firstly, Islam “owns all the truth”, i.e. truth is absent outside of it. Secondly, and similarly, there is in it an absolute rejection of the idea that the God of Islam is any different to the God of Christianity or any other religion worshipping one supreme being and creator. Two of the six articles of faith incumbent on all Muslims is belief in the revelation of previously (to the Quran), divinely revealed scripture, and belief in the divinity of prophets previous to Muhammad(sa). For a Muslim to claim God only for themselves is to contradict the Quran which a number of times, and explicitly, mentions His relationship to all divinely guided faiths, and His purpose for creating differences – which is to test every believer.

      All emphasis is mine:

      “And We have revealed unto thee the Book comprising the truth and FULFILLING THAT WHICH WAS REVEALED BEFORE IT IN THE BOOK, and as a guardian over it. Judge, therefore, between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their evil inclinations, turning away from the truth which has come to thee. FOR EACH OF YOU WE PRESCRIBED A CLEAR SPIRITUAL LAW AND A MANIFEST WAY IN SECULAR MATTERS. And if Allah had enforced His will, He would have made you all one people, but He wishes to try you by that which He has given you. Vie, then, with one another in good works. To Allah shall you all return; then will He inform you of that wherein you differed.” (Quran 5:49)

  6. Egyptian cleric, Muhammad Al-Zoghbi in a television interview cites the HADITH as follows: “Judgment Day will not arrive until Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees, but the trees will say: ‘Oh Muslims
    a Jew is hiding me, come and kill him.’”

    What was the tie between Hitler and the Mufti of Jerusalem? History tells it.

    • Seriously? The opinions or actions of individual clerics are not ‘sources of Islam’. How ridiculous. Nor does simply declaring that a statement is Hadith make it valid, accepted or reconcilable with the Quran. The latter, of itself, being one of a number of bases for rejecting the authenticity of such claims.

      But your charges, which you’ve now failed to address, were that Islam “claims to own all the truth”, and that the God worshipped by Muslims is a different God to the one worshipped by Christians. It was these allegations, particularly the former, which you claimed was stated in texts and to which you would provide reference.

  7. Larry, You may want to do some fact checking on the subject. To say that Jews and Muslims have not been powerful is ridiculous, especially with the latter. They occupy entire countries and have enormous assets. They are one of the largest religions in the world.
    Also, there has been conflict far away from Europe regarding Islam. There is books on the Muslim-Hindu conflict. Do you recall the statues of Buddha being razed in Afghanistan?
    Are you aware that in present-day Myanmar Buddhists are killing Muslims? It’s strange to me that one of the generally regarded peaceful religions is doing this.
    Are you aware of the Armenian holocaust perpetrated by whom?
    Are you aware of the persecution of Bahai and Zorastrians–none of which happened and is happening in Europe.

    • Leo, you don’t read closely. (This means your Koran quotes are probably all messed up too) :)

      In the UNITED STATES, Muslims and Jews are minority groups. Ones who are not subject to the kinds of persecution, segregation or discrimination seen much elsewhere in the world.

      You missed my entire point (you seem to do that a lot). What part of ONLY IN AMERICA did you not understand? All of it I guess.

      In the US you see Muslims and Jews living close to each other peaceably. We have no real history of sectarian violence in this country. Muslim communities in the US are not the ghettos you see in most of Europe. A large % of Muslims in the US are native born converts as opposed to most of the world.

      Leo, you really have no idea what you are talking about. All you want to do is spew your Al-Queda friendly attacks on Islam.

    • As briefly as I can: The rules for engaging in war to begin with, had already been revealed prior to this chapter. Chapter 9 begins at a point where Muslims have triumphed over the idolaters and other tribes of Mecca, who had engaged in a war to destroy Islam. The chapter then goes on to explicitly tell the ruling Muslims to honour all treaties made with such defeated, albeit hostile, groups. It then explains that for those tribes who had not made treaties and continued to attack Islam, or those who went back on their treaties, the permission for Muslims to fight remained. However if any, even from amongst such tribes, sought protection, i.e. no longer wished to be part of their warring tribe, protection was to be granted. It also outlines the responsibilities of Muslims in keeping the sacred mosque (Kaba) safe, clean and free from idolatry.

      The situation that this verse addresses was one where the Muslims, although substantially victorious in Mecca, still faced ongoing external threats and potential internal rebellion from non Muslim subjects of the state.

      Having stated how idolaters were to be treated, chapter 9 then turns to Jewish and Christian subjects of the state:

      “Fight those from among the People of the Book, who believe not in Allah, nor the Last Day, nor hold as unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have declared to be unlawful, nor follow the true religion, until they pay the tax with their own hand and acknowledge their subjection” – Quran (9:29)

      As Muslims continued to face external threats as well, including from hostile Christian and Jewish tribes, a distinction is made between Jews and Christians who would remain peaceful, loyal subjects of the state, i.e. “acknowledge their subjection”, and those who would not. The distinction is those who willingly pay the tax (Jizya) and those who refuse.

      This tax was less than the tax paid by Muslim subjects (Zakat) and was in exchange for guaranteed protection by the state from external attackers. It also (unlike Muslims) exempted those who paid it from being obliged to serve in the armed forces of the state. Those who refused to pay it were, at a time when the state was at war and threatened by external aggression, refusing to
      acknowledge loyalty to the state where they resided.

  8. Larry, From my point of view, you make a LOT of generalizations without any historical backup. Give me the historical backup. There has been religious strife in the U.S., examine the case of Leo Frank.

    Also, there was widespread prejudice against Roman Catholics in the 1800′s and 1900′s with the burning of churches in Philadelphia and elsewhere. These were called the Know Nothing Riots. Admittedly, it was not on a scale of Europe or other parts of the world.

    • Unlike yourself, I also read the post I comment about. You are asking to prove a negative in a typically dishonest troll like manner. Show me the riots in Deerborn MI, Los Angeles or downtown Brooklyn in Muslim communities like you see in Paris. Maybe then, I could take you seriously.

      Philadelphia is not even close to the sectarian horror of Belfast or Sarajevo. There is no American equivalent to the Warsaw Ghetto or pogroms. Deerborn MI is no more a ghetto than NY’s Chinatown. People aren’t forced there by discrimination or self protection from the majority.

      Muslims in Europe are treated far worse than here. We don’t have the colonial bad blood nor the history of official subjugation and discrimination that they do. So its an ignorant comparison.

  9. Check the percentages of Muslims in countries, such as, Britain and France as contrasted with the U.S. That fact may partly explain some lack of ghettoization. However, in large cities and even medium-sized ones, such as, Dearborn, Mi, there is plenty of ghettoization so much so that McDonald’s offered halal food, until it got sued because of alleged contamination.

    • If McDonalds in Williamsburg offered kosher menus and don’t follow up, they would be sued for the sane thing.

      Check the percentages of native born Muslims in this country and converts compared to Europe. Also compare American attitudes about freedom of religion. We have it, most of the world just goes through the motions.

      Leo, why do you hate America’s religious freedom and lack of sectarianism?

  10. Larry, Don’t put your notions in my speech; I love America’s freedom and lack of sectarianism. I want to keep it that way. There are efforts in the U.N. to make any criticism of religion a crime. Check it out.

    However, there still has been religious violence here. Read the Dearborn newspapers. Also,. read about what happened to the Mormons and the slaying of their deemed prophet for which the State of Illinois apologized.

    Since the U,.S., is founded on different principles and is much younger than Europe, won’t one expect that there would not be religious violence comparable to St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, now don’t confuse that with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of more recent vintage and totally non-sectarian.

    I seldom debate with folks who really probably don’t know the difference between a Hadith and a Huguenot or an Alawite and an Arian.

    • Leo, I am not the one demonizing an entire religion of a billion+ people.

      I am also more than willing to recognize that the way America treats religious minorities is light years better than virtually all other nations. In New York the Jewish and Arab neighborhoods are near each other. Some of the safest areas of Brooklyn.

      Your talk of the UN just reinforces what I said. That America is different, better. American Muslims and Jews fare better as religious minorities here than they do in Europe or the most of the developed world.

      “I seldom debate with folks who really probably don’t know the difference between a Hadith and a Huguenot or an Alawite and an Arian.”

      Who says I don’t. I just don’t take your “expertise” on Islam seriously. Its akin to calling Seven Day Adventists experts on Catholicism or calling posters on Stormfront experts in Judaism :)

      Btw I am familiar with the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, if anything from the vintage Doctor Who episode from the early 1960′s :)

  11. Rashmid M. Thank you for explaining your viewpoint on the Sura. Perhaps, I have misapprehended that an hadith has authority for Muslims, after the Koran, especially when it is cited by a cleric. Please clarify.

  12. There are three sources of authority in Islam. The primary source is the Quran. As a source it stands at the pinnacle and cannot be contradicted by the other sources. This is because Muslims believe it to be the unaltered, revealed word of God, preserved in its original form. Its authenticity is promised by God; no such guarantee is given regarding either of the other sources.

    “Verily We Ourself have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian” – Quran (15:10)

    Below the Quran in authority are Sunnah – practices of the prophet and his companions, i.e. what the prophet did. And below also are Hadith – orally transmitted accounts of what the prophet said. Hadith were compiled into collections a couple of hundred years after the prophet’s death. The most well regarded collection is Bukhari, but this does not mean that every Hadith from Bukhari is automatically accepted, even if it is prefixed with the term ‘Sahih’, i.e. authentic. The method for determining authenticity is an investigative science considering the number of chains of narration, and the reputation and reliability of all the narrators within the chain(s). But in the end, and an accepted short hand method, is determining authenticity by simply considering whether a Hadith supports or contradicts the Quran.

  13. Dr. Eshagh Shaoul

    I would like to congratulate you for documenting such an important development, which the mainstream press has ignored. They are too busy screaming about conflicts to inflame the readers, which has a very negative impact. This Judeo-Muslim cooperation in mosques and synagogues is what we need around the world, in general and between Israelis and Palestinians in particular. I will do my best to spread this good news, so well documented in print and in video.

  14. @rashid I do not read those verses in the way that you have interpreted them; however, as I have said, I am very new at studying the religion. The only sentence where I see a clear order to not fight unless they attack you first is at al-Masjid al-Haram. Also, in these verses I read a clear order to take revenge and kill where you overtake those who are against you. In a slight change in topic, I know that your Koran claims Jesus to be a prophet of the same God that you serve, but I will ask how two prophets of God could be decreeing such different standards of dealing with oppressors? We see Jesus in the Bible tell everyone that He did not come to change God’s law and that His law would stay until the end of time, but then Mohammed comes on the scene and does indeed add law and required deeds to be considered justified by God after Jesus comes and, as a prophet that you recognize as sent by God, tells us that there is nothing that we can do to earn God’s justification, but that He came to give us this justification through His sacrifice.

    • You said: “The only sentence where I see a clear order to not fight unless they attack you first is at al-Masjid al-Haram”

      Hunter, which part of “And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but do not transgress” did you not understand? This commandment is not linked to ‘Masjid al-Haram’ which is only mentioned with specificity later. And what part of “Permission to take up arms is given to those against whom war is made…” have you managed to construe as a call to aggression rather than a right to defence?

      You said: “Also, in these verses I read a clear order to take revenge and kill where you overtake those who are against you”

      ?? Where? There is no reference to ‘overtaking’ or ‘revenge’ at all. There is only mentioned fighting in defence until the aggressor desists.

      Here’s some more clarification regarding the permission to defend freedom of religion by fighting those who persecute and attack (physically) on account of belief. This context is stated in the preceding verses followed by:

      “And fight them until there is no persecution and religion is wholly for Allah. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Watchful of what they do. And if they turn their backs, then know that Allah is your Protector. What an excellent Protector and what an excellent Helper.” – (8:40-41)

      “And if they incline towards peace, incline thou also towards it, and put thy trust in Allah. Surely, it is He Who is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. And if they intend to deceive thee, then surely Allah is sufficient for thee. He it is Who has strengthened thee with His help and with the believers.” – (8:62-63)

      So not only are Muslims not allowed to continue fighting when the attackers desist, even if they believe a declaration of peace, truce or surrender is not genuine, they are still not permitted to fight any further.

      Hunter, you are of course free to interpret in whichever manner you like. But, in my opinion, your conclusion is not supported by what is actually written, and your initial assertion that “Surah 2:190-193 is an example where it is clearly stated to show aggression” and for this reason worthy of criticism, is spurious.

      As a Muslim I can make no negative aspersions on Jesus(as). But if I was to follow your preconceived and narrow method for reading scripture and then declare what is “clear”, I too may well come to an unfavourable conclusion regarding Jesus’s(as) support for aggression.

      “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34)

      “Then said he unto them. But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one” (Luke 22:36)

      You asked: “…but I will ask how two prophets of God could be decreeing such different standards of dealing with oppressors?”

      Muslims regard Muhammad(sa) as a prophet for all of mankind for all time forth. All other prophets are regarded as being sent to a particular people for a particular time. For example, the Mosaic law of revenge came about at a time when Jews had suffered a long history of oppression and persecution at the hands of tyrant rulers (Pharaohs). Jews had become so downtrodden that they had lost the strength to defend themselves. And so Jewish believers were taught:

      “And a man who inflicts an injury upon his fellow man just as he did, so shall be done to him [namely,] fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he inflicted an injury upon a person, so shall it be inflicted upon him” – Leviticus 24: 19-21

      However people became so corrupted over time that they forwent the idea of forgiveness altogether on the basis that they were permitted to take revenge in all instances.

      God then raised a prophet called Jesus(as) to once again bring these people back to the right path by removing the right of revenge.

      “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well” – Matthew 5:38-39

      The Holy Quran then makes the final declaration on the matter on the basis of both justice and mercy. It allows compensation to the degree that one has been wronged. However it declares that to gain God’s favour(reward) the option to be taken is forgiveness. But there is a condition to forgiveness as well, i.e. that it must bring about reformation of the wrongdoer. If it does not, and it in fact emboldens the wrongdoing to continue or even escalate, then forgiveness is not permitted.

      “And the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof; but whoso forgives and his act brings about reformation, his reward is with Allah. Surely, He loves not the wrongdoers.

      But there is no blame on those who defend themselves after they have been wronged.

      The blame is only on those who wrong men and transgress in the earth without justification. Such will have a grievous punishment.

      And he who is patient and forgives — that surely is a matter of strong determination. ” – Quran (42:41-44)

  15. @larry no I did not take anything out of context, as I did read verses before and after; however, if you read that portion of Surah 2, you will see that it is a set of various laws and orders that are truly rather sporadic, not in a rude way, just the laws really have no connection to each other, so in this there really is no context, it is what it is..you can look at the history, which rashid kindly informed me of, but the passage in itself merely says what it says, there are no verses before or after that shed any extra light or give certain circumstance besides when it says to only fight someone at al-Masjid al-Haram if they attack you first.

    • And yet someone who actually fluent in the language of the Koran corrected you on it (Rashid). Quite vigorously. You really avoided his point by point dissection of your interpretation. Do you read poetic Arabic? You probably need to learn it to pick up on the form, and context of the Koran. Its just like discussion of the Old testament without including the various commentaries on Hebrew translations is going to be similarly lacking.

      Frankly its not reasonable to accept arguments on what a given faith believes or allegedly says in its own scriptures when it is being told by someone outside that faith. Especially when it is being contradicted by its own practitioners. This also for Seven Day Adventists talking about the Catholic Church, Christians describing the beliefs of Jews, believers talking about atheists….

      How is your argument any different than when Max pilories Christianity on its various scriptures? It isn’t.

  16. Hunter/Rashid M., How about a little analysis of Qur’an 48:29: “Muhammed is Allah’s Apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.”

  17. Leo, I don’t know how you’ve managed to translate the Arabic term ‘ashidda’ as”ruthless”. It is typically translated as firm or hard. Perhaps someone has seen the usual English translation and embellished it to give it a different meaning? The singular is ‘shadid’, which is translated by the Arabic dictionary by Lane and Aqrab as firm or firm of heart; strong; compact; powerful; robust; courageous; brave; keen or tenacious; niggardly; avaricious; exalted. My Quranic translation reads:

    “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are hard against the disbelievers and tender among themselves”

    But in what context does it mean hard? The verse goes on to explain:

    “And their description in the Gospel is like unto a seed-produce that sends forth its sprout, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick and stands firm on its stem, delighting the sowers – that He may cause the disbelievers to burn with rage at the sight of them” – Quran (48:30)

    This part of the verse with its metaphorical description of believers makes the contrived translation of ‘ruthless’ nonsensical.

  18. As a person interested in languages, I know that “words” can be very tricky in translation. The English of today is not that of Chaucer. Is that so for Arabic? However, no matter what the translation, the translation that I have shown or ones that approximate it are used by clerics. We are also quite aware of “taqiya,” that is, the process whereby a later quote nullifies an earlier one.

    So if something is stated like let all choose their religion as they will, and something later contradicts that, then that is what applies from my understanding of “taqiya.” I think that history has proven and continues to prove that forces within Islam want to conquer all and to make all subservient to it. After all, does not “Islam” mean submission? Is that submission to “Allah” alone, and even if it is, there are requirements to complete the submission, and extremists demand that those requirements be met.

    Needless to say, one must distinguish between very good and well meaning Islamic people and others. However, Daniel Pipes in the “Middle East Forum” notes that what the west views as “moderate” Muslims are under great attack by ISIS because they are considered even more abhorrent than Jews and Christians. That is because they are considered apostates, and that is even worse that dhimmi.

  19. “..the translation that I have shown or ones that approximate it are used by clerics”

    As I stated earlier, the opinions of clerics are not sources of Islam.

    “We are also quite aware of “taqiya,” that is, the process whereby a later quote nullifies an earlier one.”

    I think you mean abrogation, but no, later quotes do not nullify earlier ones. ‘Taqiya’ is a belief amongst some branches of Islam, chiefly some Shia, that (religiously) illegal conduct is permissible if faced with persecution or threat. Most Muslims, myself included, do not subscribe to this. The Quran repeatedly abhors falsehood and sin. The only related reference in the Quran, is to the permissibility of temporary recantation of faith in the face of an extreme threat, e.g. torture or death. Nothing else is mentioned to support so called ‘Taqiya’.

    Islam means peace and submission to the will of God. Not to anyone or anything else.

    Whatever the likes of ISIS and other violent groups may try to do through force, in the end they will achieve nothing. As the example of Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan shows, strong and true faith cannot be defeated by threats and actual violence.

  20. Rashid M. In your opinion, who does speak for Islam? I understand that this question is broad because there are different “schools” or versions, such as, Alawite, Sunni, Shia, Sufi, etc. Naturally, some do not recognize each other, as is common among groups. However, if an ayatollah issues a fatwa for the death of someone, does he not have authority?

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