Boosting Jewish Muslim Relations
By Mike Ghouse
Both Muslims and Jews are driven by social justice and take their obligation seriously to restore harmony in the society, Tikkun Olam is common to both of them.
The insular men and women have made deliberate attempts to place wedges between the two communities including mistranslations of a few verses in the Quran to foster ill-will between the two. However, the Jews and Muslims have enjoyed good relations in the first 1300 years of their joint history and went apart in the last 100 years around the time Israel came into being. The relationship is rebuilding and time to give a boosting shot. They have too much at stake and a whole lot in common, and together they can repair the world.
A few verses in the Quran have been deliberately mistranslated by the right-wing Muslims (Hilali Khan Translation), and exploited by right-wing Jews for political purposes. The following three verses have been deliberately misinterpreted to foster ill-will between Jews and Muslims; 1) Jews who were turned into Apes, 2) Don’t make friends with Jews and 3) Those who have earned God’s anger like Jews. The Quran said that those who do not take rest on the Sabbath would act like apes due to lack of rest (No mention of Jews in that verse), Don’t seek counsel on religious matters from Jews as they are not aware of it and those who have earned God’s anger like Jews. (Again, the word Jews in inserted by the right wing Muslim Hilali Khan, it is not in Arabic). It is a criminal act to mess with the Quran, and Hilali Khan got away with it. Not anymore, we will fix them all. The fact that you are reading this is a sign of change. The mistranslations have been a source of anguish. We need to correct them. One of the mistranslations was fixed in 2014, and others are still in the works. The full story is in the book American Muslim Agenda including an apology to Jews, Christians, and Hindus.
There are many organizations in Washington, DC, committed to repairing the relationship. They are Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society, Jews, and Muslims and Allies Acting Together, Washington Area Jews for Jewish Muslim Understanding, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington, Adams Center, the Muslim Community Center and the Center for Pluralism among others. We need to beef up the relationship and continue to contribute our services to create a cohesive world where each one of us can live securely with our faith, race, ethnicity, sexual and political orientations. We have a lot to serve the world, and God willing we will do our share.
Pope Frances can make a difference, and he is a true God’s man and mercy to humankind. He can appoint a commission to address the Jewish-Christian conflict which is based on misinformation and the source of Anti-Semitism. The Jewish-Muslim strife is based on similar misinformation about Banu Qurayza tribe, and a wedge issue for Israeli right-wing politicians. The Christian Muslim conflict, a real thing based on the different status of Christ in the Bible and the Quran. Then the conflict between Hindus, and Christians based on forced conversions. We have been shamelessly passing the buck to each successive generation, and it is time to accept the reality and move forward with goodwill.
Throughout the history of Jewish people, they have made every effort to be an integral part of the societies they lived in, and they did all the right things, yet, they were betrayed in 1492 by Criminal Ferdinand of Spain. Then they rebuild their sense of home in Germany, and they were robbed of their home once more, the evil man Hitler was hell-bent on killing them all, thank God, he failed. The long-term security of Jews hinges and justice to the Palestinians, one will not happen without the other.
Given the constant insecurities levied on the Jewish people, the only place they can feel secure is a homeland for them. It is the duty of the people of the world in general and Muslims, in particular, to officially recognize Israel and build relationships, it will lead to Justice and a homeland for the Palestinians. The axis Prince Salman is seeking with Israel will not last as it is based on evil designs.
Everyone is holding their horses; someone has to take the first step to change the equation. It will help Israel become a law-abiding member of the community of nations when the Jews can drop their guard and move about freely anywhere in the world with a sense of security. The relationships have to be built with the people and not the politicians who come and go. We can do it if we fill our hearts with love for all of God’s creation and be a mercy to the Aalameen (entire cosmos) as the Quran calls it and the Prophet was an example of it.
Mike Ghouse is an author and a speaker committed to building cohesive societies and is available to speak and discuss the book American Muslim Agenda.