US Muslim community campaigns to repair Jewish cemetery

_94790553_cemetery2A US Muslim-led fundraising project to help repair a Jewish cemetery that was vandalised has raised almost three times its $20,000 (£16,000) target.

The crowdfunding campaign, which calls for “solidarity with the Jewish-American community”, aims to help “rebuild this sacred space”.

More than 170 headstones were damaged at the Jewish cemetery in St Louis, Missouri on Monday.

It comes after a string of anti-Semitic threats targeting the Jewish community.

The fundraising effort, launched by Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi, has received nearly 2,000 donations and has raised more than $55,000 (£44,000).

“Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish-American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration,” the fundraising page states.

The project, which is still accepting funds, aims to repair damage at the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in St Louis, but the campaigners said that any additional funds raised would be used to “assist other vandalised Jewish centres nationwide”.


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On Tuesday, the Muslim organisations the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations both spoke out against the vandalism.

“We encourage our members to reach out to their local synagogue and Jewish neighbours to express their solidarity and support and to generously support the rebuilding of the recently desecrated cemetery,” ISNA President Azhar Azeez said in a statement.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BBC NEWS 

Jordanian prince and Jewish scholar say Christianity is intrinsic to Arab culture

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Prince Hassan and Woolf Institute head decry Islamic State’s “savage” assault on Christians 

If a goal of the Islamic State group and other jihadists was attained—the expulsion of Christianity from its birthplace in the Near East—it would “destroy the richness of the tapestry of the Middle East and [be] a hammer blow to our shared heritage,” said a Muslim Jordanian prince and a Jewish proponent of interfaith relations.

Writing in The Telegraph, Prince Hassan of Jordan, founder and president of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, and Ed Kessler, director of the Woolf Institute for relations among Christians, Jews and Muslims, said that Christian communities have been “intrinsic to the development of Arab culture and civilization.”

This central role in our region and civilization is why it is abhorrent to us, as a Muslim and a Jew, to see Christianity and Christians under such savage assault across our region,” Hassan and

The two men called ISIS’ attacks on Christians, which the US State Department has classified as genocide, “sickening.” They said ISIS’ vision is an “apocalyptic” one that “harks back to a mythic Golden Age” of Islam. It is “solely the creation of the warped minds of today’s jihadists,” they charged. “Daesh want to take us to a new Dark Age, an age made even darker by the dangers that the gifts of science and technology pose in their hands,” they said, using an Arabic nickname for the jihadist group.

Helping to end this dangerous slide towards hatred, self-destruction and fratricidal conflict is the main challenge for all of us involved in interfaith dialogue. This requires us to step up our efforts to increase understanding that what unites the three great faiths of our region is far greater than any differences. We must stress, too, that respect for the past and learning from it does not require us to live there.

But this must be coupled with an honest recognition that all the Abrahamic scriptures – the Christian Bible, the Jewish Tanach and the Koran – contain texts which are divisive and include attacks on other groups. Throughout history, they have been used to justify the most appalling actions in the name of God.

These texts, which carry weight and authority, cannot be deleted or ignored.

So how do we counter their divisive message which, in the wrong hands, can be read as a license for bigotry and violence?

FULL ARTICLE FROM ALETEIA 

Christians, Muslims and Jews will gather to support Irving mosque

Dutch Chief Rabbi Hosts Muslims at Lighting of Giant Kosher Menorah Built by Christians

The chief rabbi of the Netherlands lit what he said is Europe’s largest kosher menorah, which was built for the Jewish community by Zionist Christians.

4034051688Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs lit the second candle of Hanukkah on menorah opposite town hall in the southern city of Maastricht on Tuesday, he wrote in a blog post for the Dutch Jewish news site Jonet.nl.

Measuring over 36 feet in height, Jacobs had to be lifted onto the menorah on a crane.The menorah, designed according to halakha, or Jewish Orthodox law, was built in 2013 with funding and work of Christians for Israel, a group which was founded in the 1970s and whose international headquarters is in Nijkerk near Amsterdam. The menorah, which was built by a member of that organization in the north of the Netherlands, was transported from Nijkerk to Maastricht for the ceremony, which drew a crowd of 1,000, including representatives from the Christian and Muslim faith communities, Jacobs wrote.

FULL ARTICLE FROM HA’ARETZ 

 

Norwegian Muslims volunteer to protect synagogue

CopenhagenIn the wake of a deadly shooting attack at a synagogue in Denmark last week, a group of Norwegian Muslims intends to hold an anti-violence demonstration at an Oslo synagogue this coming weekend by forming a “peace ring” around the building.

One of the event organizers, 17-year-old Hajrad Arshad, explained that the intention was to make a clear statement that Muslims don’t support anti-Semitism.

“We think that after the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, it is the perfect time for us Muslims to distance ourselves from the harassment of Jews that is happening,” Arshad told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK in an interview cited by The Local News website on Tuesday.

She noted that the group aimed to “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims.”

The demonstration drew praise from the local Jewish community.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Shi’ite Lebanese cleric holds out olive branch to Jews, Christians in non-violence campaign

ShowImageA Shi’ite Lebanese cleric has extended an olive branch to Jewish and Christian leaders around the world with a message of  non-violence.

 Sayyed Muhammad Ali Husseini, secretary general of the Arabic Islamic Council, took to Facebook on Sunday to warn of the dangers of religious extremism.
“We call on rabbis, priests, cardinals and Muslim clerics, Sunni and Shia, to play down the verses, the scriptures, the traditions and the religious texts that call for violence, because they are more dangerous than nuclear weapons,” he wrote at the beginning of a long message.
“The various religious texts which call for the use of violence and cruelty to achieve goals are extremely dangerous texts when used by groups that we have warned against in the past, as these texts give religious authorization to commit acts of violence and murder,” he added. “Obviously, these are texts that were implemented in specific and even limited times, places and situations – they cannot necessarily be applied to our time, since every situation has its own unique conditions and circumstances.
This message comes just a few weeks after he posted two videos to his Facebook page, one in Hebrew which he addresses his Jewish “cousins”, and the other in English in which he addresses both Jews and Christians. “Know that we are your cousins and followers of Prophet Ishmael, son of Prophet Abraham. We both belong to the same family and are relatives as your ancestor and ours were brothers who had the same father, i.e. Prophet Abraham,” he says.
“We respect and sanctify Holy Scriptures and we believe in the Torah, Bible and Koran. We also believe in all prophets and respect them and we do not differentiate between them,” he continues. “We believe that not all Jews are evil, not all Christians are depraved and not all Muslims are terrorists. Our cousins, let us therefore leave behind our differences, stay away from evil and hatred, reject extremism and violence and refuse to accept bigotry.”

Jewish Groups Back Muslim Woman’s Headscarf Appeal to Supreme Court

girls-in-hijabTwo Jewish groups joined a friend of the court brief on behalf of a Muslim woman whose right to wear a headscarf in a retail job is under consideration by the Supreme Court.

The court on Thursday agreed to hear the case, Politico reported.

The American Jewish Committee and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism joined an amicus with Christian, Muslim and Sikh groups. The Anti-Defamation League and the Orthodox Union also are considering amicus briefs.

The federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission brought the suit against Abercrombie & Fitch on behalf of Samantha Elauf, who had been recommended for hiring at an outlet in Tulsa, Okla. The outlet subsequently reversed its recommendation.

A lower court, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, ruled against Elauf, saying that she needed to give “explicit notice of the conflicting religious practice and the need for an accommodation for it, in order to have an actionable claim for denial of such an accommodation.”

That decision described Abercrombie & Fitch’s “Look Policy,” which, the court said, the retailer considers “critical to the health and vitality of its ‘preppy’ and ‘casual’ brand.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE JEWISH PRESS