Archive for the ‘Jews’ Category

Day of Discovery has a very interesting program with a discussion between Nizar Touma, a born again Christian Arab (this is how he described himself), and Avner Boskey, a Jewish Messianic follower of Jesus. Both of them are Israeli citizens.

While I don’t fully agree with all of what they say the Bible teaches regarding the nation of Israel, I really appreciated the grace and love they showed to each other.

Both of them saw that the main problem in the region starts within.

Conflict is something that starts in me. – Nizar

The question in peace treaties and peace movements is how much is really going on in the human heart? – Avner

You can watch it in four parts:

Part 1, Taking Sides
Part 2, Seeking Peace
Part 3, Chosen People
Part 4, Israel’s Future


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It is Ramadan. Muslims all over the world are fasting from sunrise to sunset. At the end of the month they will celebrate with one of the two most important holidays in Islam: Eid Al Fitr. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar it is possible that this holiday will land on September 11. No one reading this needs to be reminded of the significance of that day.

Unfortunately, Muslims who had nothing to do with 9/11 have had to contend with lots of backlash from that day and no doubt it will be even louder if the holiday lands on 9/11.

I was moved with compassion as I read Haroon Moghul’s thoughtful article about this convergence. I encourage you to read it and see that American Muslims endured loss on 9/11 as well.

It was worrying enough to think about how some people might misinterpret such a convergence, and that was before the rise in Islamophobic rhetoric. Every other day, I’m greeted with someone arguing that Muslims are all evil, that we shouldn’t have any more mosques in America, that we are a dastardly fifth column. The assumption here is always that Muslims are foreigners and intruders, that we are strangers in our own lands, unwelcome in our own homes.

It is easy for us to forget that there were also Muslim victims on 9/11. Moghul lives in New York and was there when the towers came down. Two fears came over him, “How do I explain that I was scared because my city was attacked, but I was also scared because people might blame me?” Not sure of what to do he went to the Muslim prayer room they had on campus and found a Jewish student. When Haroon asked him what he was doing he replied:

“I figured that some Muslims might feel uncomfortable walking home”—people had already begun to blame any number of extremist Muslim groups, and of course the subways had been shut down—“and that, if I walked home with them, maybe people would think twice before trying anything.” (He wore a yarmulke).

This reminds me of when America invaded Iraq in 2003. We were living in Syria at the time and the day of the invasion a Syrian friend called to check on us. She wanted to go to the store and get some groceries so that we wouldn’t have to go out in case we were afraid of any backlash.

The Ground Zero Mosque
I have sought to stay away from politics on this blog. I am stunned to see that what one thinks about whether there should be a mosque built near Ground Zero (not on it) has become political. It shouldn’t be. It seems appropriate at the end of this post to say that I support the building of the mosque and I am saddened to think that Americans who enjoy the greatest religious freedom in the world would be opposed.

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Cinema Jenin

The cinema in Jenin is reopening. What a remarkable story.

“It will be a cinema for peace that will carry my son Ahmed’s message. Hopefully it will join a number of different nationalities together and hopefully by bringing people together it will bring peace.” – Ismael Khatib, father of Ahmed Khatib. Ahmed was killed when he was 11 years old by the Israeli military. He was carrying a toy gun, which was mistaken for a real gun. His father donated his organs to six Israelis, both Arabs and Jews.

“Heart of Jenin” is a movie that was made to tell the story of Ishmael meeting the children that had received his son’s organs. When the German filmmaker realized that the film couldn’t even be seen in Jenin he stopped making movies to restore the cinema.

Read the whole story.

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“I told myself ‘here is an opportunity to bring the people together’ and decided to donate the money,” Harush said. “People were dumbfounded. What does a Jewish-Israeli man have do to with refurbishing a mosque? The answer is simple: I’m sick and tired of the hatred. A sane voice must emerge.”

“I myself am not a religious person but I feel that in the absence of upstanding politicians it falls on businessmen to bring together Jews and Arabs and seculars and the religious.”

He definitely gets it right that it won’t be politicians who are going to bring peace.

Read the whole thing.

HT: Talk Islam

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From the NY Times

The couple chose an olive branch as their theme for the Jewish-Muslim union, and the ceremony under a wedding canopy combined readings in Arabic and English, and a traditional Palestinian wedding dance.

HT: Isalmicate

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I love the idea of a Christian, Jew and Muslim “Trialogue”. It was put together by Bob Roberts, pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. It worked like this: Members of the church and the mosque went to the Jewish worship service Friday night at Temple Shalom. Then they all went to the Muslim worship service on Saturday at the mosque. Then they all went to the Christian worship service on Sunday at the church.  Afterward each service the three leaders fielded questions.

Ed Stetzer interviewed Roberts on his blog (you can also read the Dallas Morning News report). Here are a couple of key quotes:

I work with people of different religions all over the world– I don’t think we in the West know how to speak of faith and treat people with respect at the same time.

How can we build relationships if we don’t speak honestly to each other. I’m tired of having to be religiously politically correct. I’m also tired of the arrogance of some evangelicals who don’t know how to disagree and treat others with respect.

When asked about worshiping at the mosque he said:

It was an educational event. I don’t view it as “satanic” or “demonic” these are people that are sincere and seeking God. Going into bars, movie theatres, and banks are probably a lot more “satanic” than anything else! I want to know how they think, etc., Paul did it in the synagogue and at Mars Hill. Those people who are seeking God the most, are the ones I want to relate to. I want to be like Paul in this regard.

Worshipping with Muslims? At first I would have said no – but worship isn’t about the space it is “the hearts affection and the mind’s attention” as Jordan Fowler says – so I can worship anywhere, anytime, anyplace – as long as I am right with God and my focus is directed toward God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In my car, in my study, in a mosque, in a catholic church, in a synagogue, on the side of a mountain, in an airplane – the Holy Spirit doesn’t leave me when I walk in places he goes before me and guides me into those places as long as the primary focus is to glorify God.

When describing how he is received by Muslims, he answers:

I’m being introduced as “This is my evangelical friend,” and after a moment of someone looking at me in horror the following, “but he is a good guy – he isn’t mean to us.” I was in Gaza last week – and I was taken around like a “trophy” by some, everytime being introduced, “he is an evangelical pastor – but he is ok.” It has always left me with this question, “what have we done that they don’t mind our view of Jesus – but they do mind us?”

In the comments section he responds to a Muslim friend (who had also left a comment) by saying, in part:

Multi-faith says the basis of our relationship is respect – not agreement. In the service you heard me say I want the whole world to be Christian – the Imam said he wants the whole world to Muslim. It is because we both believe we believe the truth. The question is not do I want someone to be a Christian, in my religion with the Great Commision and yours with the Dauwa that is part of our Holy Books. The question is can I love you without an agenda. Jesus healed, related, and went places to people he considered sick, evil, demonic, etc., and he loved them all – Paul did the same.

Many in the comments section of Stetzer’s blog disagree strongly, but I like this comment from a woman who attended the events:

I attended all three events this past weekend and I was excited, nervous and deeply moved. The Jewish and Muslim people were more kind and generous than some of the people in my own congregation. I wept openly as I watched fathers worshiping alongside of their young sons in the Mosque on Saturday. I kept thinking of my own son and how I want those Muslim boys to know my son now and in heaven. I saw more dedication and focus during 7 minutes of prayer from these young boys than I would even expect from my own children. It was moving and eye opening that these people love their family and their god just like I love mine. I pray we raise our children to know and love people from all walks of life so that just maybe, one day, I can sing and dance with those people before the throne of the one true God. It can only happen relationally and with the love of Jesus Christ.

HT: Vitamin Z

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Muslims Who Saved Jews

During World War II 65 Albanian Muslims risked their lives in order to save 2000 Jews fleeing the Nazis. Photographer Norman Gershman gathered their stories into his book, Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II. NPR recently interviewed him. You can listen to the interview or read the transcript. Here is one story from the interview:

[The foreign minister of Albania] sent out a secret message to all Bektashi [a form of Shiites] that the Jewish children will sleep in the same bed as your children. The Jewish children will eat the same food as your children. The Jewish children will be your family.

Gershman, who is Jewish, closed the interview with this:

There are well over a billion Muslims. They’re good people. Unfortunately, in the media you rarely read or hear about the good people. I found the good people in Albania.

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