Unlikely Friendship Between An Imam And A Rabbi Is Changing The World

Muhammad Shamsi Ali, Marc Schneier

IT was distrust at first sight for Rabbi Marc Schneier and Imam Shamsi Ali when they met in Manhattan in 2005.

They were both being interviewed by CBS about Pope John Paul II’s interfaith outreach, following his death. They looked at each other, shook hands and felt mutually uncomfortable in their interactions.

“I’d grown up in an environment as an Orthodox Jew where Muslims were the enemy, Muslims were to be denomized, Muslims were not to be trusted,” says Schneier, 55. “I clearly brought to the table many biases, prejudices, prejudgments.”

Ali, 46, says he reciprocated with his own quietly ignorant views, until Schneier reached out several months later with a phone call and an olive branch. “He called and said he wanted to meet,” says Ali. After acknowledging their awkward first meeting, they talked about what they could do to better understand each others’ faiths.

Years later, Ali says their “friendship has already impacted both communities worldwide.”

In their quest for mutual understanding between Muslims and Jews, Schneier and Ali orchestrated the first summit of rabbis and imams in New York in 2007. They started a process called “twinning,” in which Schneier visits Ali’s mosque to talk to his congregation, and Ali does the same at Schneier’s synagogue. Ali says rabbis and imams have adopted the process in Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

READ MORE HERE http://www.ozy.com/rising-stars-and-provocateurs/the-unlikely-friendship-of-rabbi-marc-schneier-imam-shamsi-ali/30926.article


21 thoughts on “Unlikely Friendship Between An Imam And A Rabbi Is Changing The World

  1. This friendship is only noteworthy now. Jewish people and Muslim people were friendly with each other for centuries in Palestine. Sure they had their problems but which people don’t. It was only when the European Zionist came that it broke down.

    For those in a hurry I would watch from the 2:30


      • True, true ~ the innocents and helpless are always grist to the murder-mill.
        But I defy anyone to identify any other time or place or people in the history of the world where children have been deliberately targeted and relentlessly pursued as a matter of national/religious policy. Judaism alone makes an art of child-murder/abuse.

        Right from the start, Abraham’s son was targeted for slaughter. Though he wasn’t, finally, killed the terror he must surely have suffered at his father’s cold-blooded, ritualistic willingness to slaughter him must count as child-abuse at the top end of of such offences.

        Then jewish god got the ball rolling with the mass-slaughter of Egyptian babies, and followed with the specific order to butcher canaanite children “without mercy”. (Obviously needing to hunt them down like terrified rats before the command could be executed.) And we also have the likes of Moses specifically commanding that the boy-children be murdered en masse, and the virgin girls gang-raped. (without nominating how young the virgins could be: conceptually even baby girls.)
        ……And that ‘Judaized’ Herod confirmed the tradition with the ‘Massacre of the Innocents’.

        According to their own history the deliberate targeting of children is a mainstay of judaic religio/political endeavour.

        Even rabid hyenas don’t behave like that.


      • In the interests of balance. it is worth noting Dabs that though Israeli children were killed in the conflict during the decades prior, the first acts of Palestinian violence specifically targeting large numbers of Israeli children were committed in the 1970s.

        The Avivim school bus massacre was a terrorist attack on an Israeli school bus on May 22, 1970 in which 12 Israeli civilians were killed, nine of them children, and 25 were wounded. The attack took place on the road to Moshav Avivim, near Israel’s border with Lebanon. Two bazooka shells were fired at the bus The attack was one of the first carried out by the PFLP-GC.

        The Ma’alot massacre in May 1974 involved a two-day hostage-taking of 115 people which ended in the deaths of over 25 hostages. It began when three armed members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP entered the Netiv Meir Elementary School, where they took more than 115 people (including 105 children) hostage on May 15, 1974, in Ma’alot. The hostage-takers soon issued demands for the release of 23 Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons, or else they would kill the students. On the second day of the standoff, a unit of the Golani Brigade stormed the building. During the takeover, the hostage-takers killed the children with grenades and automatic weapons. Ultimately, 25 hostages, including 22 children, were killed and 68 more were injured.

        The Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing was a terrorist attack by on June 1, 2001 in which a suicide bomber Saeed Hotari, linked to the Palestinian group Hamas, blew himself up outside a discotheque on a beachfront in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing 21 Israeli teenagers and injuring 132

        The Mercaz HaRav massacre, also called the Mercaz HaRav shooting, was an attack that occurred on March 6, 2008, in which a lone Palestinian gunman shot multiple students at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, a school in Jerusalem. Eight students and the perpetrator were killed. Eleven more were wounded, five of them placed in serious to critical condition

        Other terrorist attacks targeting children included the Itamar attack in which six children and their parents were murdered in their beds, including a three-month-old infant,[32] and the 2011 Shaar HaNegev school bus attack in which Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip fired a Kornet laser-guided anti-tank missile over the border at an Israeli school bus, killing one child

        According to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers’ “2004 Global Report on the Use of Child Soldiers” there were incidents where Palestinian children were involved in suicide attacks or other militant operations. According to Human Rights Watch, in 2004, the major Palestinian armed groups, including Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas “have publicly disavowed the use of children in military operations, but those stated policies have not always been implemented.” In 2005 Amnesty International condemned the use of children by Palestinian militant groups saying: “Palestinian armed groups have repeatedly shown total disregard for the most fundamental human rights, notably the right to life, by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians and by using Palestinian children in armed attacks.”


      • Resorting to the A-word copout again?
        Certainly ugly, and just as certainly not catch-cry ‘antisemitic’.
        (And I remind you that not only jews are semites ~ their victims often are too.)

        And the examples you cite are atrocities which not even christians should forgive.

        But they’re one-offs and roundly condemned by just about everybody ~ including Yassar Arafat in his day..
        And certainly can’t be weighed in the “balance’.

        All sorts of casualities (including ‘other’ animals) in military actions (terrorism by any other name) are ineveitable ‘grist-to-the-mill’, as I said.
        And that includes the millions of german kids (and old women who couldn’t make it to bomb-shelters) who were killed in the ‘holocaust’
        meted out by allied bombers ~ in a deliberate policy of bombing civilians.
        ….and also includes ‘inconvenient truths’ such as the documented fact that very often it’s the would-be ‘rescuers’ who do most of the killing.
        (Remember the Munich olympics? …which, incidentally, ended in massacre because the israelis refused to release some palestinian prisoners.
        And also remember that a hostage-taker has NOTHING to gain and EVERYTHING to lose by killing his hostages.)
        However, omelettes and eggs, as I say.

        But all that’s merely a demonstration of ‘The Image of God’ at work and play.

        The very concept of deliberately targeting children for political reasons, as a matter of national policy, is an entirely different thing.
        Even if it is in the service of ~ or at the behest of ~ the god of all the universes.
        And THAT is a peculiarly jewish thing.

        I repeat:-…..
        ‘But I defy anyone to identify ANY other time or place or people in the history of the world where children have been deliberately targeted and relentlessly pursued as a matter of national/religious policy.’
        Neither Hitler nor Stalin nor Mao…. the Kmer Rouge (where’s Alexie got to!?) the Inquisitors the Romans, Barbarians, Mongols, Persians nor anyone else that I can think of did that.

        ps…Caught part of a movie called “Charlie Wilson’s War” (Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts – 2007) last night. A brilliant depiction of what goes on behind the scenes ~ and HOW it goes on, and based on a re al character/true story. Entertaining too! Will make a point of getting a copy.
        Yorta try to see it.


      • Good-oh. Have you got the gear to run up a copy? ( Not a ‘Spectacular’ like Ben Hur, but still one of those seminal movies that should be kept in a collection for future generations, I think.)

        Found myself chuckling endlessly that the self-congratulating americans were actually training a generation of Osama-bin-Ladens to score a few (largely irrelevant) points over the soviets.

        And I remember thinking ayt the time that the Afghans could’ve done well for themselves as a soviet satellite.

        Apparently allah didn’t agree with me! 😦

        See you Thursday? You’d know all the sleazy dives worth checking out, being a melbourne-ite AND a member of the Fourth Estate, wouldn’t you?
        (and save Strewth the energy of tootling around to unworthwhile revenues.)


      • Gday mate,
        I don’t know how to copy the film but I’ll give it a go. Dunno about Thursday. I hope I can make it. And I don’t really know the southern cross station end of town any more. Let me know where you are all going to be and I’ll definitely try to be there at least for a while.


      • Thanks Bryan, but I wouldn’t worry too much about the movie if you’re not familiar with how to do it. Should be downloadable from online when I get around to doing a search.
        I don’t know Melb. much either, but don’t remember much of anything down at what’s ‘Docklands’ these days; Spencer st was always a rough/workers end of the town.

        Rian:…..Not sure how the trains from Ballarat run but is it any more trouble to get down to Flinders St? The steps of St Pauls might be a spot to meet;or Y&J’s across the road! (Though I think that’s not what it used to be either. Or Perhaps meet at Southern Cross if necessary and tram it down to Swanston??
        Whatever ~ it’s a task you chose, so I’ll let you get on with it. I’m easy.


      • Re Thursday meet-up I have no ‘druthers’, am depending on Rian. Dabbles, I emailed my mobile contact to you, just in case.

        There used to be a food court on the mezzanine at Southern Cross, and though I think that’s changed now there are food outlets on ground level and first floor, plus waiting rooms etc.


      • From Southern Cross we’ll use train or taxi. Don’t think trams are the best for wheelie-walkers!


  2. I don’t see the point of the whole issue.
    We’re not just talking football-fans here: the basis of the issue is entirely their differing religions.
    Are they ‘friends’ because they’re trying to convert each other?
    Even ‘accepting’ a different god as a concept must surely be a betrayal of The One True God.
    Just goes to show how absurd the whole god-thing has become.


    • The problems revolve mainly around a political entity called Zionism. They are using religion but have nothing to do with religion. Palestinians are not the only ones that are restricted to practice.


      • “They are using religion but have nothing to do with religion.”

        Absolutely, though they might convince themselves it’s about religion.


    • “The practice of child sacrifice in Pre-Columbian cultures, in particular Mesoamerican and South American cultures, is well documented both in the archaeological records and in written sources. The exact ideologies behind child sacrifice in different pre-Columbian cultures are unknown but it is often thought to have been performed in order to placate certain gods.”


  3. A nice sentiment ~ and one that carries some weight ‘on the ground’.
    But how do you separate zionism from, say Deuteronomy 7 ~ among many others.(Exodus in particular.)? —> God clearly told us to do it is still the ‘justification’ ~ and back in Deuteronomy somewhere (and elsewhere) ‘god makes it quite plain jews are not to deviate ‘one whit’ from his various instructions.
    ie. where does religion stop and political ‘pragmatism’ start?
    If self-interest and self-justification isn’t the whole and sole purpose of any religion (or other ideology for that matter), what is?

    But it’s interesting to note that (primitive) judaism appears to be more oriented to tribal self-interest
    and christianity (a step towards portended ‘civilisation’/globalisation) more oriented toward individual ends.
    From what little I know about islam, it appears to bridge the gap between the two.
    (No wonder they’re confused! 😆 )


    • ps. Note that altruism, idealism, anarchy and the like (even theoretical communism) don’t ~ can’t! ~ raise such problematical issues.


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