The website of the World Jewish Congress, a international Jewish organization has announced that the a dinner it hosted for participants of the First National Summit of Imams and Rabbis in New York City was addressed by a number of Muslim and Jewish leader including the director of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an important part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The report described the meeting as:
…the first of its kind and aimed at fostering better understanding between clerics of the Muslim and Jewish faiths. Workshop sessions focused on sharing religious and cultural commonalities and on possible joint actions of the two communities in the United States.
Persons addressing the conference incuded: the FFEU’s founding president and WJC American Section chair, Rabbi Marc Schneier; FFEU chairman and hip-hop star Russell Simmons; the imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, Sheik Omar Abu-Namous; the permanent observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the United Nations, Ambassador Abdul Wahab; the director of the Islamic Society of North America, Sayyid Mohamed Syeed; and the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder. The report described Lauder’s speech as follows:
In his dinner speech, Lauder applauded the efforts of those who tried to build bridges between the two great Abrahamic faiths. “Religious leaders have a special role to play to help us reach out to one another and to explore our religious and cultural commonalities,” the WJC president told dinner guests. He said meetings between Muslim and Jewish leaders should take root and could perhaps set an example for other countries, too. Lauder added: “In your synagogues and mosques country-wide you have the capacity to reinforce the positive and to help create a better understanding between Jews and Muslims among local communities.”
Despite it’s long history of association with fundamentalism, terrorism, and anti-Semitism, ISNA has been successful of late in building alliances with Jewish leaders and organizations. A previous posts has noted that a rabbi and leader of the Jewish Reform movement made the keynote address to the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) marking the first time a major Jewish leader has addressed ISNA in over forty years: