Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights, may have said it best:
Ever since the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, hatred and discrimination against Muslim Americans has been growing. Over the past year, the rhetoric has only gotten louder and more violent. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly. These are also essential American values. Yet across the United States today, we see attempts to prevent the construction of mosques, laws outlawing Sharia law, and the vilification of our Muslim neighbors and friends as un-American. Jewish historical experience remembers that not too long ago, we too were the victims of suspicion and hatred based on our religion and ethnicity. The actions of the few should not condemn the many, and every religion has its teachings both of violence and of peace. Jewish tradition demands that we remember the heart of the stranger, because we were strangers in the land of Egypt. If one minority can be singled out for congressional hearings or restrictions on places of worship, anyone can be. These are not American values. These are not Jewish values. It is time to Stand Together and speak out against Islamophobia.
Rabbis for Human Rights then organized 25 of the leading rabbinic voices in the country to explain why it is so dangerous, immoral, and runs contrary to our beliefs as Jews. I was fortunate to be one of two students who — with luck and a history of inter-religious work — were able to join in the rabbinic course against Islamophobia. I pray that it becomes a groundbreaking moment for Jewish-Muslim relations in America and proves to be a lasting “good” forged in what might otherwise be seen as a spate of ignorance.
Here are my thoughts, particularly regarding Representative Peter King’s wrong and misguided hearings on supposed Muslim “radicalization.” What are yours?