Jewish-Muslim Relations Past and Present

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Chief Rabbi is guest of honour at a Muslim dinner in Wales

Chief Rabbi Ephraim MirvisI found this report in the Jewish Chronicle Online Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was invited to address the Muslim community in Cardiff. Saleem Kidwai, the secretary-general of the community commented on something that I believe is so important for the two faith communities. He said, “The increase of antisemitism and Islamophobia is increasing day by day and the need for unity and working together has never been so important as at this time.” There is quite a bit of evidence that Jewish and Muslim communities are working together in mutual support in places like London and Berlin and online forums. May it continue and grow.Saleem Kidwai


UK Jews and Muslims team up against hate – Al Jazeera English

UK Jews and Muslims team up against hate – Al Jazeera English.

Rabbi Herschel Gluck founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum

Rabbi Herschel Gluck founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum

Here is an example of Jews and Muslims working together against anti-semitism and islamophobia. “Muslims and Jews living in the same North London neighbourhood are making a stand together against hate crime amid concerns of an increased threat to both communities in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.” I’m beginning to see more examples of this kind of solidarity between the faiths and one can only hope that it increases and gains greater media coverage. Click here to read full article

Elana and Ibtisam: Women working for peace

Some time ago I posted a short video about Elana and Ibtisam who work together for peace in Israel and Palestine. They both spoke about the role of women in peace-building and how women’s voices need to be heard in the peace process. I posted the clip with the title Holding Hands: Daughters of Abraham as this is how they began their story of the work they do together. The clip is here

I’m now posting Part 2 and Part 3 in which they speak about how they met at an interfaith gathering and how they get to know each other and their families. Part 3 shows Ibtisam’s work in her village, creating a Women’s Council and working with the mayor to improve the conditions and education of women. The video was made a few years ago and I will try to get an update on how the recent events have impacted on the work of Elana and Ibtisam.

Part 2

Part 3

Haifa’s Answer

A film about Haifa where different groups successfully co-exist and celebrate their main religious holidays together. It is possible and there are some very interesting comments from the participants in this film. Well worth watching.

“Different communities living together in the same town in a country of conflicts, strive to find a form of coexistence that would respect the identity of each of them, allowing dialogue and peaceful coexistence. Haifa is a unique example of a form of coexistence that finds its utmost and highest symbolic expression in the Holiday of Holidays, a unique and extraordinary festival in which the most significant holidays of the three main religions of the local population — Judaism, Islam and Christianity — are celebrated at the same time.”


‘Human’ Music for Peace by Gabriel Halevy

Gabriel HalevyGabriel HalevyPeacemaker and musician Gabriel Halevy has created a new album which he describes as, “From the Heart to Prayer. From Rumi to Pele. From Argentinian folk songs as gifts of joy & peace to the Middle East in Persian, Hebrew, Spanish & Arabic( Lubna Salame). Original songs with Israeli vocalist( Mosh Ben Ari) and guest vocalists from Turkey, India, Jordan & New york. From African ngoni to accordion, oud & sarod, charango & viola, brass, turkish clarinet, bansouri & bombo leguero…tablas & pan flutes, violin, lira and guitar.” He needs help to release it so please go over to Headstart to see how you can help.

Track Two Diplomacy

Ron-KronishI was sent the link to this article in the Times of Israel by Rabbi Ron Kronish, the author of the article and a friend of our Centre of Religions for Reconciliation and Peace at the University of Winchester, UK. Rabbi Ron and his wife have given workshops at the University of Winchester in previous years and I visited his office while in Israel. He works to bring together Israeli Jews and Muslims to get to know each other. Track two diplomacy basically means grass-roots initiatives for peace and there are many such groups and individuals working in this way in Israel and Palestine. Many of them are mentioned in other articles on this blog. In this piece Rabbi Ron Kronish speaks of a tour he did of the US with the Qadi (Muslim judge) of Jerusalem.

The Other Peace Process as told by a Rabbi and a Kadi

Iyad Zahalka, the kadi (judge) of the Jerusalem Muslim Shariya court of the State of Israel, and I were grateful for the opportunity to be able to present our ideas about “the other peace process” to Jewish, Christian, Muslim and interreligious audiences in several cities in the USA during a 16 day speaking tour to the USA in late October/early November that brought us to New York, New Jersey, Detroit and Washington DC. All of this took place before the recent Gaza War.

What is “The Other Peace Process?” It is different from the political one, which has been stalled for many years. The “Other Peace Process” is sometimes referred to as “the people-to-people track” or “the peace-building process” or “track two diplomacy.” This is different from peace-making, which one of my friends calls assembling “pieces of paper,” i.e. the creation of peace treaties, usually by lawyers and diplomats, who then argue for the next several years (or decades) why the other side didn’t live up to the legal agreement that was made! The “Other Peace Process” is the one that brings people from different religions and nationalities together to encounter each other substantively and sensitively in order to find ways to live in peaceful coexistence together.

Kadi Zahalka is a Palestinian, Arab, Muslim citizen of Israel and a respected judge in our country. I am a Reform rabbi who moved to Israel 33 years ago to live in the Jewish state of Israel. I have served in educational and communal positions in Jerusalem for over three decades. I suspect that this may have been the first time in most of the cities in which we appeared that a kadi and a rabbi spoke on the same platform at synagogues, churches, mosques, universities and communal groups. (more…)

How Peace-making really works

This is a marvellous and moving film about the work of 2 peace-makers. It is excellent in how it shows their work and how they both speak about their path to this work. Very inspiring as an excellent example of what peace-making is about.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, a Palestinian Sufi, who passed on two years ago and is sorely missed, was the co-founder of Jerusalem Peacemakers. He was also the head of the Naqshabandi Sufi order in Jerusalem, a role that has been passed from father to son since Sheikh Bukhari’s family came to Jerusalem from Bukhara 400 years ago. Sheikh Bukhari worked hard all his life for peace and reconciliation in Jerusalem. Eliyahu McLean, an Orthodox Jew, is the director of the Jerusalem Peacemakers and works tirelessly for reconciliation in the conviction that the resources for peace are there in the religious and spiritual traditions of the Holy Land. This video shows Eliyahu and Sheikh Bukhari talking of their work together.

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