Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More on Efforts at Muslim-Jewish Dialogue

As might be expected, not everyone agrees with the Union for Reform Judaism/Islamic Society of North America project I publicized here.

There's actually been a bit of witless debate on the topic on my shul's listserv today.

Here's an excerpt from something I posted:

Our founding myth puts Isaac up for slaughter. Theirs (according to the majority Muslim tradition) puts Ishmael there. It sorta makes sense.

Probably a reason to learn some Qu'ran. In both myths, G-d stopped the slaughter of the child.

Let's stick with our founding myth, since we know it better.

Sarah is barren, Hagar has Ishmael.

Hagar is blameless, Sarah is jealous.

Sarah gets Isaac, by an act of G-d, so late in life that his name literally means laughter. (She'd laughed when, in her 90's, He promised her a child.)

Repaying this divine gift with earthly baseness, Sarah directs a quiescent Abraham to boot Hagar and Ishmael out into the wilderness, now that a greedy Sarah has an even eviller motivation than jealousy --- Isaac's inheritance.

Might call for a little humility in our dealings with our cousins.

In the end, the Qu'ran doesn't demand that Abraham kill his first-born. And the Torah doesn't demand he kill Isaac. I don't think a fair reading of either calls on believers to extol the misguided false-martyrdom of their own youth.

But fundamentalists instruct and inspire our Yigal Amirs and our Meir Kahanes. The same kind of fanatics instruct their Mohammed Attas and suicide bombers.

We find those fair readers of the Qu'ran by reaching out, not by fanning the flames of our own hatred in isolation.

*To the few of you who overlap reading both my shul's listserv and this blog, yes, I did add some clarifying phrases, fix a couple of minor errors, add some Wikipedia links, and correct an embarrassing brain fart as I repurposed my comments for this forum. So sue me. :)

1 comment:

dmarks said...

I read Islamic Society of North America's web site a bit, and they seem relatively mellow compared to other groups, such as CAIR. I wonder how widespread their influence is?