The Spread Hummus Not Hate minivan tour around Greater Washington culminated in a rally which drew more than 200 Muslim and Jewish students and community activists to a late afternoon rally on the Quad at American University where they vowed to stand up for each other and in support of religious freedom for all Americans.
Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at AU delivered opening remarks at the rally, expressing deep concern about the escalating anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S., including from candidates in the presidential election, and remarking, “Today it’s against Muslims, but tomorrow it could be anti-Semitism or against African-Americans or other groups. All of us need to say, ‘Enough is enough. Here is a red line and we won’t allow it to be crossed.”
FFEU Muslim-Jewish Prgram Director Walter Ruby told the Rally, “Spread Hummus, Not Hate, the kickoff event for FFEU’s annual Season of Twinning is the purest distillation of our growing Muslim-Jewish movement. We are coming out today to vow to Stand Up for Each Other and to stand together with Americans of conscience from all faith traditions in defense of religious freedom for all faiths and no faith; for full rights for all Americans regardless of faith, race or ethnicity.”
A highlight of the rally came when AU Hillel President Susan Klau and MSA President Bakhtawar Mirjat stood together on stage and vowed to combine forces against what Mirjat called , “the hateful rhetoric against us both on the national stage. We need to stand up for each other.” AU Jewish and Muslim Chaplains Jason Benkendorf and Imam Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad delivered a Joint Prayer for Peace, in which they prayed for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, for an end to violence and teroruism and for peace in America, including an end to the demonization of diverse faith and ethnic communities. The two intoned together the Talmudic and Quranic adage, that, ‘It you save one life it is as though you have saved the whole world.’
Catherine Orsborn urged members of the audience to sign the Religious Freedom Pledge vowing to speak out against demonization or discrimination against any faith or ethnic community.
The Rally at AU capped a day during which Muslim and Jewish riders on the minivan, which was generously contributed by the ADAMS Center, toured Greater Washington with stops at the Muslim Community Center, in Silver Spring, MD, University of Maryland in College Park, Masjid Muhammad in northeast Washington, Farragut Square in downtown Washington, Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, MD and Washington Hebrew Center in northwest Washington to deliver the message, “We are coming together as Muslims and Jews to declare that we will stand up for each other if either community is victimized by violence or by hateful rhetoric. No matter what happens on November 8, no matter what other events may occur in the coming weeks and months, we vow to stand together against Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.”