Muslims And Jews In America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities

Paperback | April 15, 2011

EditorReza Aslan, Aaron J. Hahn Tapper

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Jews and Muslims make up less than 3% of the total population of the United States. Yet, despite their relatively small numbers, the members of these two minority groups often find themselves the focus of a disproportionate amount of media attention, particularly when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Beyond such international issues, American Jews and American Muslims find themselves struggling with similar inter-communal concerns when it comes to matters like education (for example tensions between student populations of Jews and Muslims on university campuses), politics (such as the swearing in of the first Muslim Congressman in the House of Representatives, Keith Ellison, or the omnipresent emails and robo-calls linking President Obama to the Muslim community that emerged during the 2008 Presidential election), or even pop culture (think of such recent Hollywood productions as Kingdom in Heaven, Munich, Paradise Now, and Traitor, to name but a few). In all of these matters, American Jews and American Muslims have consistently engaged each other in conversation – whether directly or indirectly; constructive or not – in ways that have usually eluded their co-religionists throughout the rest of the world. This has partly to do with America’s ethos as a “melting pot” of different religions, ethnicities, and cultures. But it also has to do with the innovative ways in which Judaism and Islam have absorbed, and been radically altered, by the so-called “American experience.”

This book is an exploration of contemporary Jewish-Muslim relations in the United States and the distinct and often creative ways in which these two communities interact with one another in the American context. Each essay discusses a different episode from the recent twentieth and current twenty-first century American milieu that links these two groups together. Some deal with case examples of local inter-communal interaction, such as “dialogue groups,” which can help us better understand national trends of similar activities in other parts of the country. Others focus on national trends themselves, thus giving us greater insights into individual incidents.

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Jews and Muslims make up less than 3% of the total population of the United States. Yet, despite their relatively small numbers, the members of these two minority groups often find themselves the focus of a disproportionate amount of media attention, particularly when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Beyond such internatio...

Dr. Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of Middle Eastern Studies, is a fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy and Middle East Analyst for CBS News. He is also a featured blogger for Anderson Cooper 360. Aslan has graduated from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, a...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:228 pages, 9.4 × 5.97 × 0.48 inPublished:April 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023010861X

ISBN - 13:9780230108615

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Table of Contents

Preface--Congressman Keith Ellison * Introduction--Reza Aslan * Part I. Case Examples: Lessons Learned? * You Can't Handle the Truth... or Maybe You Can--Rabbi Brad Hirschfield * Who Put Hate in my Sunday Paper: Uncovering the Israeli-Republican-Evangelical Networks behind the “Obsession” DVD--Omid Safi * Children of Abraham in Dialogue--Rabbi Amy Eilberg * The Khalil Gibran International Academy—Lessons Learned?--Debbie Almontaser * Part II. Identity Formation: Muslims, Jews, and the American Experience * Evolving from Muslims in America to American Muslims: A Shared Trajectory with the American Jewish Community--Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf * The War of Words: Jews, Muslims, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on American University Campuses--Aaron J. Hahn Tapper * Muslims, Jews, and Religious Visibility on American College Campuses--Taymiya Zaman * J Street and Current Directions in American Muslim-Jewish Dialogue--Hannah Ellenson and Rabbi David Ellenson * Part III. Challenges and Opportunities in Reaching Across the Divide * Introduction to Speeches by Rabbi Eric Yoffie and Dr. Ingrid Mattson--Sayyid Syeed * Inaugural Address at the 44th Convention of the Islamic Society of North America--Rabbi Eric Yoffie * Address at the 69th Conference of the General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism--Ingrid Mattson * Integration or Separation: The Relationship between Iranian Jewish and Iranian Muslim Communities in Los Angeles--Saba Soomekh * Challenges and Opportunities for Muslim-Jewish Peacemaking in America--Salam Al-Marayati * Part IV. Toward the Future: New Models in Jewish-Muslim Relations * Beyond Sarah and Hagar: Jewish and Muslim Reflections on Feminist Theology--Aysha Hidayatullah and Judith Plaskow * Status Quo vs. Solution: A Middle East Playbook--Eboo Patel * Sacred Text Study as Dialogue between Muslims and Jews--Reuven Firestone and Hebbah Farrag * American Jews and American Muslims of Love--Rabbi Michael Lerner * Afterword--Peter A. Geffen

Editorial Reviews

"What has transpired in the last fifteen years vis-à-vis Jewish-Muslim relations among American actors has been groundbreaking and naturally wrought with significant tension and missteps, but also growth, as evidenced by the two speeches included in the volume by Dr. Ingrid Mattson and Rabbi Eric Yoffie. The collection of essays speaks to how far both communities have come within America and how far the communities need to advance. It is critical that the discourse on such a topic reflect the realities happening in American neighborhoods today. Because not a single book published - as far as I know - on Jewish-Muslim relations focuses on such tensions in American cities and how these tensions are perceived by their respective communities through the prism of nightly news or the sermons delivered on Friday or Saturday, this book will be breaking new ground, both for academics and activists." - al-Husein N. Madhany, Advisor to Patheos.com and Senior Fellow, Homeland Security Policy Institute, George Washington University "The sophistication and acuity of the penetrating essays in this volume usher in a new era of maturity in Jewish-Muslim dialogue in America. While focusing on our common interests, the articles confront head-on the seemingly intractable differences that divide us. Muslims and Jews in America offers hope for the future of these two major American religions." - Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies and Director, Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary, and author of Sage Tales "This is a terrific book - helpful and hopeful and healing - written by Muslims and Jews who care about each other and care about America. They show that they have more in common with each other than what divides them, and their positive and realistic approach to interfaith relations should be a model for peace in the Middle East." - Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence 'Feldman suggests that Jews and Muslims share the experience of being religious minorities in America; Asian and Tapper's Muslims and Jews in America echoes this point, exploring parallels and points of divergence.' - Tablet