FFEU In The News 2017
The message of this evening was one of welcome and acceptance. At a time when Muslims are feared and singled out in America, including by our president, the consul general of Israel made them the first guests in his new home.
Israeli Consul General of Los Angeles Sam Grundwerg and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding hold an Iftar meal with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Russell Simmons and Jewish/Muslim religious leaders to promote dialogue between the two communities.
From Berkeley to Brooklyn to Brussels, Muslims and Jews are sharing the iftar meal and helping turn the tide against polarization
“In our practice of serving God, there is no more essential service that we can provide than teaching people to connect and see themselves in each other,” said Simmons, according to the release.
"Those who pit us against each other do so, not out of spiritual beliefs, but rather for their own political and financial enrichment," said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
"We have seen hundreds of debates about Islam and identity, but apart from Marine Le Pen, no one is addressing the losers of globalisation." Samia Hathroubi, FFEU's European Director.
"Walter Ruby, the program director for the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which promotes cooperation and understanding between Muslims and Jews, said that examples of solidarity between the groups in recent months 'very much jibe with what the poll says.'
He pointed to the examples of Muslims who have raised funds for desecrated Jewish cemeteries and of Jews who have opposed the Trump administration’s travel bans on people from majority Muslim countries.
'There is a common interest, a common sense of vulnerability,' he said."
"The hate has escalated over the years, and I think it’s all this dialogue about hate that has made us all kind of band together. The Muslim community is now put in a group of people at risk: Every woman, every African American, every Latino, every marginalized group are at risk. So now, we start to turn to each other for support – for protection. We are looking out for each other."
On March 26, our European Program Director, Samia Hathroubi, led our annual program, Sadaqa Tsadaka Project, where young Jews and Muslims were welcomed by Rabbi Yann Boissière, at the Liberal Synagogue of Paris, for a day full of activities. The young Muslims, coming from the mosque of Sevran, took part in a didactic Seder of Pessah, and a workshop of calligraphy in Hebrew/Arabic. Next month, their Jewish counterpart will be invited to the Mosque of Sevran.
"Rabbi Marc Schneier and Imam Shamsi Ali from the Foundation For Ethnic Understanding both said a few words. The group’s mission is 'to reduce tensions among diverse racial and ethnic communities.' Rabbi Schneier decried the Trump administration’s decision to declare 'open season' on Muslims, and compared the current climate to the ninth biblical plague, 'the plague of darkness, a darkness that affected the heart (...) when we do not see one another and do not care for one another.'”
“I’ve had a wonderful, wonderful relationship with them,” said Walter Ruby, the Washington-based Muslim-Jewish relations programs director with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. “It’s really not right to attack a mosque, a whole community, that’s doing wonderful work today.”
"As we await the advent of the new Trump administration, it is more important than ever for our community to reconnect with that uplifting chapter in American history half a century ago. We should do so not for the purpose of self-congratulatory platitudes, but rather because we face a similar moment of moral testing now.
Just as many Jews risked their very lives to go to the South in the 1960s in support of our African-Americans brothers and sisters, we must show similar courage and fortitude today and stand up for American Muslims, whose civil and human rights are under attack".
2016 was unquestionably a difficult year.
Throughout the yearlong presidential campaign, we saw a worrisome uptick in expressions of bigotry, including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant rhetoric; much of it clearly in response to demagogic rhetoric in the campaign itself. Since the election on November 8, the number of hate crimes have soared. Mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship across the country have been desecrated by swastikas and hateful slogans, while in diverse cities, Muslim women have been assaulted by bigots, intent on tearing off their hijabs.