As part of Alhurra’s coverage on interfaith dialogue, correspondent Khaled Khairy reported on an interfaith event that brought together local Jewish and Muslim communities. The event, which was sponsored by the Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society and held at the Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation synagogue in Bethesda, Md., focused on the common principles that the two groups share.
Participants were provided with a screening of “Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet,” then asked to participate in group discussions.
“There is so much we can learn from Islam as there is so much for Muslims to learn from Judaism,” said Daniel Spiro, one of the event’s organizers. “As a religious Jew, it has been my privilege to be inspired by great people from other cultures. I consider Muhammad to be a personal inspiration to me, and it is important for Jewish people to hear the story of Muhammad and understand how inspiring he can be.”
Reaction to the event was positive, with participants from both faiths commenting that these kinds of opportunities to come together are beneficial.
“It is very important for people in the Jewish community and people in the Muslim community to be able to sit down, break bread together and get to know each other through informal discussion groups such as those that the Jewish Islamic dialogue society sponsors,” said participant Kay Halpern, adding that it is important for both groups to do away with stereotypes that contribute to misunderstandings.
“Our presence in a Jewish synagogue is a matter of extreme importance because there are a lot of negative stereotype that affect the relations between Jews and Muslims,” agreed Sahar Khamis. “We have to change all of these negative things from their roots. This is a positive example for a peaceful coexistence among different religions.”
Nancy Swerkis added that the event gave her a new perspective. “The film, which I saw for the first time, made me realize that there are more similarities between the history of the Jewish people and the history of the Muslims. I had learned today that Muslims were very prosperous people in a time when commerce was very successful and people were becoming more competitive. And Muhammed’s message from God tried to bring them back to truth and kindness and compassion.”
For more information, contact:
Chams Eddin, Communications Specialist
Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.
Alhurra Television and Radio Sawa