Wednesday, July 15, 2009

(Addition) - Muslim-Jewish Dialogue toward Peace (Interview)

Rabbi Burton Visotzky: “A great deal” shared by Jews, Muslims.

(ADDITION at end)

Jewish-Muslim Dialogue:

The Risks And Rewards (Recent Interview)
By Steve Lipman

Rabbi Burton Visotzky, professor of Midrash and interreligious studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, was on foreign but familiar ground recently. A veteran of interfaith discussions with Muslims around the world, he was among three rabbis — the others were Jack Moline of Alexandria, Va., and Gerald Serotta of Chevy Chase. Md. — who took part in a panel discussion at the Islamic Society of North America’s 46th convention in Washington, D.C. Their topic: Muslim-Jewish Dialogue: Building a Peaceful Society Here and Abroad.” Some 30,000 Muslims attended the gathering.

Q: Many members of the Jewish community would consider “Jewish-Muslim dialogue” an oxymoron. Why don’t you?

A: Any and all interreligious dialogue is, by definition, with an “other.” This means there will always be a divergence of viewpoints and motives. In Jewish-Muslim dialogue we unfortunately are starting from a relative low point in the historic relationship between the two communities. Yet Islam and Judaism share a great deal in common — in our minority status in the U.S., in our approaches to food and prayer, in our devotion to Scripture and study, in our monotheism, and in our dedication to help the needy of our communities.

Q: What are the limits of Jewish-Muslim dialogue?

A: The limits are the extent to which either of us may be convinced by the narrative of the other. Still, virtually all Jews and Muslims of good will want the same thing for both Israel and Palestine — peace in the region and an opportunity for our children to grow in an environment free of hate.

Q: What’s the upside for the Jewish community of such dialogue, and the downside?

A: The upside is better relationships with our Muslim neighbors in the U.S. and the formation of potential alliances for neighborhood and other religious issues. Internationally, there is potential for confidence building measures that will help Israel live at peace with her Muslim neighbors and citizens.

The downside is hard to imagine — perhaps there are some who imagine that we might be deceived by those with whom we engage — but that is a form of conspiracy thinking that we in the Jewish community abhor when it is applied to us, so I can not embrace it.

Q: You and a few other rabbis were among 30,000 Muslims at the Islamic Society Convention. Daniel in the lion’s den?

A: I wandered through the “Bazaar” at the convention, viewing the wide range of books, clothes, toys and food for sale. I was wearing a yarmulke, as well as a nametag identifying me as a rabbi, which obviously made me stand out. The universal reaction, without exception, was “Salaam Aleikum.” Most added, “We are honored you have joined us here, thank you.”

Q: The convention took place shortly after the aborted attack — by members of the Islamic community — on two Riverdale synagogues. Was that mentioned at the convention; was it condemned?

A: Yes, it was mentioned. ISNA condemned the attack the day it was revealed. They have gone on record repeatedly condemning all forms of terrorism. They are friends we can count on.

Interview found in Jewish Week dot com

ADDITION - placed here Thursday may be useful in that mention is made of some really crucial areas of the world - including contradictions between stated US goals and ongoing military actions IN PAKISTAN, etc. There are also some other notes of interest to all who want peace and dialogue with the "other" - including with women...

Muslim-initiated Interfaith Dialogue - Vienna, July 16, 2009The two of us (Rabbis Phyllis Berman & Arthur Waskow) are writing from Vienna, after several days of meetings of the Follow-up Committee for the Madrid World Interfaith Dialogue held a year ago. Both meetings were sponsored by the Muslim World League and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, especially in his religious capacity as Protector of the Two Sacred Places.The follow-up committee - made up of 45 people invited from among the 300 or so who were at Madrid - was asked to focus on joint action going forward. This meeting took some major steps forward as compared with Madrid; still continued one important disappointing aspect of Madrid; and ended with a shock. READ the rest -
here & See COMMENTS...
Here's the only schedule easily found for the mentioned conference - listed as a tentative one - here

See Pictures and Bios of Speakers, etc. here

Also note various Press Releases here

A recent press release: Religious Leaders Press President Obama on Torture: here Be sure to see other Press Releases as well.

Another effort for Muslim-Jewish Dialogue in LA, California USA using Compassionate Listening here (Be sure to click on "Who We Are")


Connie L. Nash said...

Connie L. Nash said...

Israeli Reservists Speak Out about Gaza Tragedy: Ex-Israel troops: Army used reckless force in Gaza

For Very Intent and Special Silence and Prayer: The Terrific Crash in Iran - for the many people and their loved ones - for healing for any survivors

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

Many in Jewish as well as Muslim community may feel that this Jewsih-Muslim dialogue is oxymoron, but as very rightly pointed out by Rabbi Burton that dialogue means with "other", hence this is to be taken forward and the ways and possibilities would itselfs emerge out of it.

Connie L. Nash said...

Maybe more trust could become a part of the process of inter-faith dialogue? Then, if true listening and compassion is practicised or at least held as both possible in time - this very discipline might lead to more openess? As Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib says: "the ways and possibilities would emerge" no matter how "other" the other is to us at the outset. Perhaps Rabbi Burton is more willing in part because of his inter-faith studies and teaching?

Connie L. Nash said...

For further dialogue - the Israeli Soldiers who spoke out - there may be UPdates and letters on this topic in The Guardian... 27 Volume 7 - July 16, 2009US-Israel relations and the settlements•

Also and Bitter Lemons International provides interesting, well-though out dialogue - if rather academic from VARIOUS perspectives both Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian-Arab-Muslim/Christian and other

Today's offering from Bitterlemons International includes these two topics:

No decisive shift in US policy?

What the Arabs do or not do doesn't change what Israel should do.