“When the Jewish women left the sanctuary to begin setting up for dinner, the Muslims stayed behind to lay out mats for their evening prayers facing the ark, which points in the direction of both Jerusalem and Mecca.”
How delightfully broad-minded and ecumenical. But why did the Muslims only pray after the Jews left? Could the Jews have stayed for the Muslim prayers? And during the Muslim prayers in the Jewish sanctuary that night, were any of these Qur’an verses recited? Qur’an 3:181-182 excoriates the Jews for “slaying of prophets against all right” and says they are bound for hellfire; 5:51 tells Muslims: “Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies”; 5:64 says that the Jews are “rejected” by Allah; 9:29 tells Muslims to fight against the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians) “until they pay the jizya [poll tax] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued”; 9:30 claims that “the Jews say, ‘Ezra is Allah’s son’” and exclaims: “May Allah destroy them!”
There is more. The Qur’an states that in the Torah is “guidance and light” (5:44) and asks why the Jews approach Muhammad to settle their disputes: “But how is it that they come to you for judgment while they have the Torah, in which is the judgment of Allah?” (5:43). It also asserts, however, that the Qur’an is “the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it” (5:48).
The Jews, however, did not see the Qur’an as confirming their Scriptures, and did not convert to Islam en masse. The Qur’an explains this as a manifestation of their perversity and rebellion from Allah: “And when a messenger from Allah came to them confirming that which was with them, a party of those who had been given the Scripture threw the Scripture of Allah behind their backs as if they did not know” (2:101). Allah says of the Jews: “Is it not that every time they took a covenant a party of them threw it away? But most of them do not believe” (2:100).
Those Jews who did not accept Muhammad and Islam are “avid listeners to falsehood, listening to another people who have not come to you. They distort words beyond their usages” and are “the ones for whom Allah does not intend to purify their hearts.” They face the divine wrath in this world as well as the next: “For them in this world is disgrace, and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment” (5:41). They are disgraced everywhere they go: “They have been put under humiliation wherever they are overtaken, except for a covenant from Allah and a rope from the Muslims. And they have drawn upon themselves anger from Allah and have been put under destitution. That is because they disbelieved in the verses of Allah and killed the prophets without right. That is because they disobeyed and transgressed” (2:89).
The Jews even dare to claim that “Allah did not reveal to a human being anything.” Allah instructs Muhammad to respond: “Say, ‘Who revealed the Scripture that Moses brought as light and guidance to the people? You make it into pages, disclosing it and concealing much. And you were taught that which you knew not — neither you nor your fathers. Say, ‘Allah.’ Then leave them in their discourse, amusing themselves” (6:91).
Ultimately, Allah transforms disobedient Jews into apes and pigs (2:63-66; 5:59-60; 7:166). Muslims should avoid such people: “O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people” (5:51). Now the Jews are accursed of Allah for rejecting the Qur’an: “And when there came to them a Book from Allah confirming that which was with them — although before they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved — but when there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it; so the curse of Allah will be upon the disbelievers” (2:89). They are the worst enemies of the Muslims: “You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers the Jews…” (5:82).
The enemies of the Muslims, the killers of the prophets, dishonest, evil, subhuman, and accursed of Allah – this is the Qur’an’s picture of the Jews. Combine all that with the Qur’anic command to “kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you” (2:191), and one has come to the root of the implacable hostility among Muslims toward Israel.
Will any of these Muslim-Jewish outreach events feature any honest discussion of these Qur’an verses and others like them, and discuss ways to counter Islamic anti-Semitism? Almost certainly not. Why not? And will the Muslims be inviting the Jews over to the mosque and inviting them to pray there? If not, why not?
“Muslims, Jews break bread at shul event,” by Debra Rubin, New Jersey Jewish News, March 7, 2016
Local Jewish and Muslim women who have found that what unites them is greater than what divides them came together to bake hallah, chat, and enjoy traditional foods.
During the Feb. 21 program at Temple Rodeph Torah in Marlboro, the women watched as Rabbi Shira Stern, an educator at the synagogue and director of the Marlboro-based Center for Pastoral Care and Counseling, showed them how to braid the dough.
After the Jewish women recited Hamotzi over the freshly baked loaves, they joined together for a traditional dinner featuring specialties of their Middle Eastern, Pakistani, and Indian cultures.
“We came here in the interest of tolerance and peace and to learn about each other’s religion and culture,” said Zakiya Kathawala of Hazlet.
As the smell of the baking bread filled the temple, Muslim members of the group asked about the symbolism of the Hebrew lettering and items on the bima, including the Torah scrolls inside the ark.
Rabbi Donald Weber, who acknowledged he, rather than Stern, was handling the scrolls because “her hands were doughy,” took out a scroll originally from Iraq. As the women gathered around, he explained the painstaking way in which the text was written, its significance, and how it is read. At the Muslim women’s request, he also recited and translated a brief passage.
“The Torah is seen as a living being,” Weber explained. “That is why we reach out and touch and kiss it. We stand up when a Torah comes into a room.”
In response to a Muslim woman’s asking how many names Jews have for God, Weber said that tradition has it that there are 72 ways to describe the different aspects of God — “just like Don, Donald, abba, rabbi are all me,” he said.
“In the Koran we have 99 names for God, all describing his different attributes,” said one of the Muslim women, finding another commonality between the two religions.
When the Jewish women left the sanctuary to begin setting up for dinner, the Muslims stayed behind to lay out mats for their evening prayers facing the ark, which points in the direction of both Jerusalem and Mecca….