More than 75 imams, rabbis and Muslim and Jewish activists from across Greater Washington, meeting together on Sunday November 22 at the IMAAM Center Indonesian Mosque, vowed to stand together against hate speech and hate crimes against Muslims, Jews and adherents of other faiths; and agreed to encourage all Washington area houses of worship to sponsor one or more Syrian refugees seeking refuge in the U.S.
The rabbis and imams also endorsed the idea that mosques and synagogues across the region should form one on one twinning relationships so as to deepen personal connections among their congregants. Role modeling and explaining how ‘twinning’ works for the assembled rabbis and imams at the Summit, were two pairs of twins in northern Virginia which have held many events together as part in FFEU’s Season of Twinning since 2009; Congregation Rodeph Shalom and the McLean Islamic Center and the All-Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center) and the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation.
The Summit was co-sponsored by the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum (GWMJF) an affiliate of FFEU, the Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society (JIDS) and IMAAM Center with support from the Islamic Society of North America, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, the World Organization for Research Development and Education, and the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group. The event was co-convened by Rabbi Bruce Lustig of the Washington Hebrew Congregation, Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, and Dr. Amang Sukasih, President of the IMAAM Center.
According to Nadia Hassan of the GWMJF,“there was an evident outpouring of love and solidarity in the room among the Imams and Rabbis- all seemed to be concerned about the growing anti-Muslim sentiments and rhetoric amplified by Islamophobes and several presidential candidates in the media.” Hassan opened up the discussion with a symbolic reference to how God describes (in the Qur’an) the people of Abraham (Christians, Jews and Muslims) as family.
Daniel Spiro, co-founder of JIDS commented, “This wonderful event, coming at such a difficult moment, was inspiring evidence of the strong commitment by several dozen imams and rabbis across Greater Washington to work together to fight hate speech and to strengthen ties between our communities. Now we need to take the next step and follow up so as to put that commitment to work together into action.”