A new site appeared on Facebook in June: https://www.facebook.com/scmjf. It was created by the So-Cal Muslim-Jewish Forum, a new coalition formed to foster a deeper relationship between the two faiths in Los Angeles. Its creation was inspired by another similar non-profit organization, The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which set up its offices in New York City in 1989. http://ffeu.wordpress.com/about/.
In their mission statement, the So-Cal Muslim-Jewish Forum resolves “to stand up for each other when either Muslims or Jews are victims of hate crimes, incitement or bigotry; to work to better educate our two communities about each other in order to lessen misunderstanding and misinformation; and to encourage the holding of Muslim-Jewish … events at which Muslim and Jewish Angelenos can meet and build friendships.”
They were soon to have cause to issue their first public message, a joint Muslim-Jewish statement on the murder of innocents in Israel: “We together extend condolences to the families of Naftali Frankel, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir. We pray that their memories serve to spur both of our communities to loudly and definitively reject the paths of violence and revenge, and to embrace negotiation in the spirit of mutual respect as the only way forward.”
Here is a partial list of the congregations and organizations that have joined forces with the SoCal Muslim-Jewish Forum. Among many others, it includes the following:
• Islamic Center of Southern California
• Claremont-Lincoln University, including Bayan-Claremont Islamic Graduate School and Jewish Institute of Religion
• King Fahd Mosque
• Temple Emmanuel of Beverly Hills
• Muslim Public Affairs Council
• Sufi Order International
• Wilshire Boulevard Temple
• Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue
• Congregation B’nai David-Judea
• Pacifica Institute
More Greater LA Muslim and Jewish congregations and organizations are invited to join. Similar initiatives in other countries are underway such as The Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims (CAJM), in Toronto. CAJM was founded in the province of Ontario in 1996 and has longstanding ties with FFEU in New York City.
Peace initiatives that do not get attention in the mainstream media are happening everywhere. North American summer programs for the Middle East public peace process are bringing together young adults, Palestinian and Israeli youth-peacemakers and coalition builders. Refusing to be enemies, they gather at Building Bridges, http://www.buildingbridgesshift.org/; Creativity for Peace www.creativityforpeace.com; Hands of Peace http://www.handsofpeace.org/ founded in Illinois; Seeds of Peace, www.seedsofpeace.org; and many others like the interfaith group, Kids4Peace both in the USA http://www.k4p.org/ and in Jerusalem, http://k4pblog.org.
This good news should be reported alongside the atrocities that are always exploited to sell what passes for news. Let us support these groups and their ongoing influence anyway we can.