Striking back against an anti-jihad advertisement in the subways widely perceived as anti-Muslim, two religious groups – one Jewish, one Christian – are taking out subway ads of their own to urge tolerance.
Rabbis for Human Rights – North America and the group Sojourners, led by the Christian author and social-justice advocate Jim Wallis, are unveiling their campaigns on Monday. Their ads will be placed near the anti-jihad ads in the same Manhattan subway stations, leaders of both groups said and transit officials confirmed. The groups said their campaigns were coincidental.
The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights turns the language of the earlier ad, placed by a pro-Israel group, on its head. The original ad says, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.” The ad by Rabbis for Human Rights says, “In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors.”
Rabbi Jacobs said: “Geller thinks she is speaking for the entire Jewish community. We are a group of 1,800 rabbis and we want everyone to know that we have to work in partnership with the Muslim community and do not believe in dehumanizing them.”
A Sojourners solicitation for donations says: “Hateful anti-Muslim ads only result in violence, hatred, and more fear. Everyone — regardless of race, religion, or creed — deserves to feel welcome & safe when riding public transit in the United States.”
Yahya Pallavicini, imam of the mosque al-Wahid in Milan, vice-president of the Italian Islamic Religious Community and founder of the International Committee of Imams, and Rabbis and Christians for Peace UNESCO in Paris, has decided to publish his last book “The Merciful. Allah and his Prophets” with a major catholic publishing house in Italy, Edizioni Messaggero.
It is a strong choice in a country that fights the veil and mosques. In Veneto, worshipping space is denied to Muslims and non-catholic religious symbols aren’t accepted. Pallavicini believes that courage is necessary to enhance dialogue, the only way to overcome isolation, prejudices and contrasts.
Spreading knowledge about Allah’s prophets (the same for Muslims, Jewish and Catholics), discusses how to foster integration while avoiding suspicion, fear and ignorance about different traditions. The book tries to facilitate the encounter of two worlds. Following what San Francesco once said regarding the Crusades: “We don’t have to go against anybody, rather we have to go among everybody”, the book seeks to meet the Others upon ideas of mercy and dialogue.
Delegation of spiritual leaders from Europe visits US to learn about ‘twinning synagogues’ initiative aimed at advancing interfaith dialogue, battle anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. A delegation of over two dozen European imams and rabbis in a meeting late last week at the White House pledged participation in American-led efforts to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The declaration, signed by leading clerics from nine European nations came at the conclusion of a four-day interreligious mission to the United States that brought the group to the White House, State Department, Congress, United Nations, Ground Zero, US Memorial Holocaust Museum and even Yankee Stadium. The mission was hosted by The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) in conjunction with the World Jewish Congress United States and the Islamic Society of North America.
The European rabbinical umbrella organization “Conference of European Rabbis” (CER) boycotted an interfaith conference in Belgium after it was determined that Muslim delegates included alleged members of the Muslim brotherhood movement. The meeting, co-hosted by the European commission and the European Parliament, took place in Brussels on Monday of this week. The interfaith meeting was intended to bring together four religious leaders from each participating faith community. In a statement explaining the decision not to attend the meeting, the executive director of the CER said: “We do not consider it appropriate for organizations such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, or individuals who made or endorsed anti-Semitic statements and who are clearly linked to radical Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood to be present.” These invitees, according to the CER, are “extremists who are not representative of the vast majority of Europe’s Muslim citizens.” The statement noted that the interfaith initiative was a positive one, but that it was undermined by the inclusion of some persons who are more interested in divisiveness than dialogue. The European Commission said that the decision was regrettable, as president Jose Manuel Barroso stated: “This meeting aims to foster dialogue and build on common ground, regarding the importance of this economic and financial crisis and we believe it is important to contribute. …It is time for unity and not for isolation on such an important topic.”