We released this statement on behalf of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (the oldest and largest rabbinical organization in North American which I have the privilege of serving as President) today in response to the despicable and deplorable statements made by a political candidate.
CCAR Statement Condemning Anti-Muslim Bigotry
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
The Central Conference of American Rabbis condemns anti-Muslim bigotry worldwide, in America, and in the campaign for President of the United States. Specifically, we are horrified by Donald J. Trump’s proposal that all Muslims be barred even from visiting the United States, let alone immigrating, especially as refugees are escaping persecution by the very forces that threaten the western world.
Discrimination on the basis of religion is un-American, unconstitutional, and dangerous. Jewish history has taught us that those who will discriminate on the basis of religion threaten the lives and well-being of countless human beings. As Jews, we know the heart of the stranger, and we will not stand idly by when members of another religious group are singled out as strangers.
Rabbi Denise L. Eger Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis
A few more words on the Mosque and Cordoba Initiative community center controversy. One of the major issues for Islam is that there has never been any great Reformation. Christianity went through it with Martin Luther. Judaism has had several reformations. Further American Islam must send it young leaders outside the U.S. for religious training. There aren’t the equivalent of Islamic seminaries here. Although there is a new university that is just getting started that is Islamic and they hope to establish a seminary. This would be a great thing for America and for interfaith dialog. So often Islamic religious leaders, Imams come from other than Western culture. They don’t understand our form of democracy.
That is not to say they can’t. But culturally the Islamic world is very diverse and adding American diversity to its mix will be a good thing I believe. For as much as there is wrong with our country-there is still much good! And American political values have shaped both Judaism and Christianity as much as our religious values have shaped American culture. So to will Islam add its voice to the mix and be influenced by its interaction with Jews and Christians.
Dialog between the three Abrahamic Faiths Judaism, Christianity and Islam is important because we share roots in common even as we have developed differently. That is why I am proud to be the President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis that engages in dialog with both our Christian and Muslim neighbors. It does matter.