Change begins with just a few people. There is no denying that the predominant voice in Islam today is Wahhabism and Salafism – two closely related, violent, fundamentalist Muslim ideologies. They are the basis of all Islamist regimes across the middle east. Although many peope (like Obama) incorrectly claim that Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban “are not Islamic”, they most certainly are Islam, specifically Islamist .
But the good news is that only about 8% to 15% of the Islamic world is Islamist – that is very dangerous, but not the majority.
So what can we do? Give up? Continue to reach out to Muslims. When Muslims and Jews spend time together, eat and learn together, we see each other as human beings.
All it takes are a few who learn about Judaism, here and there – and perhaps some of them will become influential in repairing Islam.
All Islamist groups grew from a small group. Similarly, future groups based on peace, tolerance and kindness will be the same – growing from a small group of committed Muslims.
Events like this cooperation between a synagogue and a mosque may be where peace starts.
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A synagogue in Canada has opened its doors to the local Muslim community this week after a nearby mosque was set ablaze in a hate crime following the terror attacks in Paris earlier this month. The heads of the Beth Israel synagogue in Peterborough invited Muslim worshipers to pray at the synagogue after Molotov cocktails were thrown into Masjid Al-Salaa (Mosque of Peace).
….Synagogue president Larry Gillman said that when he heard of the arson, he reached out to the synagogue’s board of directors and asked them if they were willing to share their prayer space with the Muslim community. They unanimously voted in favor. “As Canadians we have to stick together,” Gillmantold CBC’s Metro Morning. “It’s not about religion, it’s not about race. Canadians do this.”
“Even though it came out of a tragedy, we are working together,” said Kenzu Abdella, the president of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association. “We have more similarities than differences… At the end of the day, it’s a house of God.” This week, the Muslim worshipers came to pray at the synagogue twice, and the two communities held a dinner party together.