“Everything I need to know about Islam, I learned on September 11th, 2001.”
Many of us would disagree. In fact, what we have learned in the years since that day is the opposite. That everything we need to know about Islam we did NOT learn on September 11th, 2001. The proposal for the “Mosque at Ground Zero” that turns out not to be a mosque and not at Ground Zero has brought to light this simple fact: We Americans need to know a whole lot more about Muslims and their religion. We also need better ways to think about this particular controversy and, beyond the specifics of Park51 in lower Manhattan, about the larger issues it raises.
A group of Jewish interfaith educators is encouraging Jews to use this season of turning to reflect on our own fears and prejudices, on ways we might educate ourselves about Islam, and on the role we might play in helping to create a more inclusive and just society. Here is the statement: Shabbat Shuva Letter
Here are just a few of the resources I have found helpful. I look forward to more suggestions.
*The Auburn Theological Seminary website is gathering a growing collection of resources and is an excellent first stop to learn more.
*The Reverend Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite has excellent ideas here for Christian preachers.
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
A video statement created by Auburn Theological Seminary
Jonathan Sarna “When Shuls were Banned in America.”
Nancy Fuchs Kreimer “Park51 Should Not be Complicated for Jews”
Reuven Firestone, a rabbi and professor of islamic Studies at Hebrew Union College “The Ground Zero-Sum Game”
Rabbi Justus Baird
Rabbi Steve Gutow
Keith Olbermann video,
Rabbis David Ellenson and Robert Levine
To learn more about Islam:
The best place to begin is the website of the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement with its growing bank of resources.
This is an amazing site with over five hours of high quality films to view, entirely free of charge. There is a short film about a Muslim New York City firefighter, and a portion of a longer PBS special about Islam, “Allah Made me Funny,” and more. There are also discussion guides to download.
ChangeTheStory.net is an on-line resource aimed at transforming harmful stereotypes about Muslims that persist in society. Many useful materials here, especially for people just beginning to learn about Islam.
The website for the Daughters of Abraham Book Group Includes a helpful reading list.
NPR’s Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett has many excellent shows on Islam. The website includes transcripts, podcasts, and additional resources.
Here is an inspiring report of one rabbi’s unusual response.
Hebrew Union College Students and Faculty rally
Check the website of New York Neighbors for American Values
* THE LIBERTY WALK: INTERFAITH RALLY FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
Date: Sunday, September 12, 2010, 3pm
Location: Starting at St Peter’s Church on the corner of Church and Barclay and ending at Park51.
We are pleased to announce that Religious Freedom USA is leading a demonstration in support of Park51. We must support the religious freedoms that are at stake for all Americans. We will walk from St Peter’s to a synagogue (TBD), World Trade Center, and finish at Park51. Please be respectful and mindful. We won’t allow any signs at this demonstration. Rather, we ask everyone to bring a flag to the demonstration as a reminder of religious freedom. Together, not as Christians, Jews, or Muslims, but as Americans, we can uphold the American values that brought our ancestors here, the freedoms that we take for granted, and the ideals that we must uphold for our future.