In the U.S., Jews and Muslims Set Up Big Interfaith Effort

Posted on December 16, 2007

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By Michelle Boorstein

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, December 16, 2007; A09

Two major Jewish and Muslim organizations unveiled an interfaith dialogue curriculum yesterday and are urging their hundreds of thousands of members to use it. Both sides say it is the broadest Jewish-Muslim interfaith effort in the continent’s history.

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, North America’s largest Jewish movement, announced the partnership with the Islamic Society of North America at his group’s biennial convention in San Diego.

“As a once-persecuted minority in countries where anti-Semitism is still a force, we understand the plight of Muslims in North America today,” Yoffie said yesterday. “We live in a world in which religion is manipulated to justify the most horrific acts, a world in which — make no mistake — Islamic extremists constitute a profound threat. For some, this is a reason to flee from dialogue, but in fact the opposite is true. When we are killing each other in the name of God, sensible religious people have an obligation to do something about it.”

This summer Yoffie became the first major Jewish leader to address ISNA, the continent’s largest Muslim organization with 30,000 attendants coming to its annual convention. ISNA President Ingrid Mattson will address the 980-congregation Jewish group today, the first leader of a major Muslim group to do so.

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