Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities

Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities


Edited by Reza Aslan, Edited by Aaron J. Hahn Tapper

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  • Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Format: Paperback | 228 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 228mm x 14mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 7 June 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Basingstoke
  • ISBN 10: 023010861X
  • ISBN 13: 9780230108615
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 943,387

Product description

Jews and Muslims make up less than 3% of the total population of the United States. Yet, despite their relatively small numbers, the members of these two minority groups often find themselves the focus of a disproportionate amount of media attention, particularly when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Beyond such international issues, American Jews and American Muslims find themselves struggling with similar inter-communal concerns when it comes to matters like education (for example tensions between student populations of Jews and Muslims on university campuses), politics (such as the swearing in of the first Muslim Congressman in the House of Representatives, Keith Ellison, or the omnipresent emails and robo-calls linking President Obama to the Muslim community that emerged during the 2008 Presidential election), or even pop culture (think of such recent Hollywood productions as Kingdom in Heaven, Munich, Paradise Now, and Traitor, to name but a few). In all of these matters, American Jews and American Muslims have consistently engaged each other in conversation - whether directly or indirectly; constructive or not - in ways that have usually eluded their co-religionists throughout the rest of the world. This has partly to do with America's ethos as a "melting pot" of different religions, ethnicities, and cultures. But it also has to do with the innovative ways in which Judaism and Islam have absorbed, and been radically altered, by the so-called "American experience." This book is an exploration of contemporary Jewish-Muslim relations in the United States and the distinct and often creative ways in which these two communities interact with one another in the American context. Each essay discusses a different episode from the recent twentieth and current twenty-first century American milieu that links these two groups together. Some deal with case examples of local inter-communal interaction, such as "dialogue groups," which can help us better understand national trends of similar activities in other parts of the country. Others focus on national trends themselves, thus giving us greater insights into individual incidents.

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Author information

DR.REZA ASLAN Internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of Middle Eastern Studies, is a fellow at the University of Southern California's Centre on Public Diplomacy and Middle East Analyst for CBS News. DR.AARON J. HAHN TAPPER Founder and Co-Executive Director of Abraham's Vision and an Assistant Professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department of the University of San Francisco, USA, holding the Swig Chair of Judaic Studies, and he is also the founding Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, the first academic program in the country formally linking these two fields.

Review quote

'...this volume must be commended for starting a difficult conversation and encouraging activists and public commentators to pursue opportunities about Islamic-Jewish relations that are now a little bit more understood than they were before the publication of Muslims and Jews in America.' - Ahmed E. Souaiaia, University of Iowa, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Table of contents

Preface; Congressman K.Ellison Introduction; R.Aslan PART I: CASE EXAMPLES: LESSONS LEARNED? You Can't Handle the Truth...or Maybe You Can; Rabbi B.Hirschfield Who Put Hate in my Sunday Paper: Uncovering the Israeli-Republican-Evangelical Networks behind the 'Obsession' DVD; O.Safi Children of Abraham in Dialogue; Rabbi A.Eilberg The Khalil Gibran International Academy - Lessons Learned?; D.Almontaser PART II: IDENTITY FORMATION: MUSLIMS, JEWS, AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Evolving from Muslims in America to American Muslims: A Shared Trajectory with the American Jewish Community; I.F.Abdul Rauf The War of Words: Jews, Muslims, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on American University Campuses; A.J.Hahn Tapper Muslims, Jews, and Religious Visibility on American College Campuses; T.Zaman J Street and Current Directions in American Muslim-Jewish Dialogue; H.Ellenson & Rabbi D.Ellenson PART III: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN REACHING ACROSS THE DIVIDE Introduction to Speeches by Rabbi Eric Yoffie and Dr. Ingrid Mattson; S.Syeed Inaugural Address at the 44th Convention of the Islamic Society of North America; Rabbi E.Yoffie Address at the 69th Conference of the General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism; I.Mattson Integration or Separation: The Relationship between Iranian Jewish and Iranian Muslim Communities in Los Angeles; S.Soomekh Challenges and Opportunities for Muslim-Jewish Peacemaking in America; S.Al-Marayati PART IV: TOWARD THE FUTURE: NEW MODELS IN JEWISH-MUSLIM RELATIONS Beyond Sarah and Hagar: Jewish and Muslim Reflections on Feminist Theology; A.Hidayatullah & J.Plaskow Status Quo vs. Solution: A Middle East Playbook; E.Patel Sacred Text Study as Dialogue between Muslims and Jews; R.Firestone & H.Farrag American Jews and American Muslims of Love; Rabbi M.Lerner Afterword; P.A.Geffen