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A Bronx Tale

After the congregants of an Orthodox synagogue could no longer afford their rent, they found help in the local mosque.

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Members of the Chabad of East Bronx worship in the Islamic Cultural Center of North America. (Ted Regencia)

Near the corner of Westchester Avenue and Pugsley Street in Parkchester, just off the elevated tracks of the No. 6 train, Yaakov Wayne Baumann stood outside a graffiti-covered storefront on a chilly Saturday morning. Suited up in a black overcoat with a matching wide-brimmed black fedora, the thickly bearded 42-year-old chatted with elderly congregants as they entered the building for Shabbat service.

The only unusual detail: This synagogue is a mosque.

Or rather, it’s housed inside a mosque. That’s right: Members of the Chabad of East Bronx, an ultra-Orthodox synagogue, worship in the Islamic Cultural Center of North America, which is home to the Al-Iman mosque.

“People have a misconception that Muslims hate Jews,” said Baumann. “But here is an example of them working with us.”

Indeed, though conventionally viewed as adversaries both here and abroad, the Jews and Muslims of the Bronx have been propelled into an unlikely bond by a demographic shift. The borough was once home to an estimated 630,000 Jews, but by 2002 that number had dropped to 45,100, according to a study by the Jewish Community Relations Council. At the same time, the Muslim population has been increasing. In Parkchester alone, there are currently five mosques, including Masjid Al-Iman.

“Nowhere in the world would Jews and Muslims be meeting under the same roof,” said Patricia Tomasulo, the Catholic Democratic precinct captain and Parkchester community organizer, who first introduced the leaders of the synagogue and mosque to each other. “It’s so unique.”

The relationship started years ago, when the Young Israel Congregation, then located on Virginia Avenue in Parkchester, was running clothing drives for needy families, according to Leon Bleckman, now 78, who was at the time the treasurer of the congregation. One of the recipients was Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, the founder of the Al-Iman Mosque, who was collecting donations for his congregants—many of whom are immigrants from Africa. The 49-year-old imam is an immigrant from Gambia in West Africa who came to the United States in 1986. After a year in Harlem, he moved to Parkchester, where he eventually founded the Muslim center and later established an Islamic grade school. Through that initial meeting, a rapport developed between the two houses of worship, and the synagogue continued to donate to the Islamic center, among other organizations.

But in 2003, after years of declining membership, Young Israel was forced to sell its building at 1375 Virginia Ave., according to a database maintained by Yeshiva University, which keeps historical records of synagogues. Before the closing, non-religious items were given away; in fact, among the beneficiaries was none other than Drammeh, who took some chairs and tables for his center.

Meanwhile, Bleckman and the remaining members moved to a nearby storefront location, renting it for $2,000 a month including utilities. With mostly elderly congregants, Young Israel struggled to survive financially and, at the end of 2007, was forced to close for good. The remaining congregants were left without a place to pray. During the synagogue’s farewell service, four young men from the Chabad Lubavitch world headquarters in Crown Heights showed up. Three months earlier, Bleckman, then chairman of the synagogue’s emergency fund, had appealed for help from the Chabad.

“The boys from the Chabad said they came to save us,” said Bleckman. “We were crying.”

At this point, Chabad took over the congregational reins from Young Israel, with members officially adopting the new name Chabad of East Bronx. Still, for the next six to seven weeks, Bleckman said they could not even hold a service because they had nowhere to hold it.

When Drammeh learned of their plight, he immediately volunteered to accommodate them at the Muslim center at 2006 Westchester Ave.—for free.

“They don’t pay anything, because these are old folks whose income are very limited now,” said Drammeh, adding that he felt it was his turn to help the people who had once helped him and his community. “Not every Muslim likes us, because not every Muslim believes that Muslims and Jews should be like this,” Drammeh said, referring to the shared space. But “there’s no reason why we should hate each other, why we cannot be families.” Drammeh in particular admires the dedication of the Chabad rabbis, who walked 15 miles from Brooklyn every Saturday to run prayer services for the small Parkchester community.

For the first six months, congregants held Friday night Sabbath services inside Drammeh’s cramped office. As more people began joining the congregation, Drammeh offered them a bigger room where they could set up a makeshift shul. (When it’s not in use, students from the Islamic school use it as their classroom.) Inside the synagogue, a worn, beige cotton curtain separates the men and women who attend the service. A solitary chandelier hangs just above the black wooden arc that holds the borrowed Torah, which is brought weekly from the Chabad headquarters. A large table covered with prayer books stands in the center, and a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe is displayed prominently on a nearby wall. During Shabbat, when Jewish congregants are strictly prohibited from working, they have to rely on the Muslim workers at the center or on Drammeh to do simple chores such as turning on the light and switching on the heater.

At first, it did not make sense, said Hana Kabakow, wife of Rabbi Meir Kabakow. “I was surprised,” said the 26-year-old congregant who was born and raised in Israel. “But when I came here I understood.” The Kabakows have been coming to the service from Brooklyn for the last two years.

Harriet Miller, another congregant, said she appreciated the center’s accommodating the synagogue. “They are very sweet people,” said the 79-year-old Bronx native and long-time resident of Parkchester, who added that she welcomes the new Muslim immigrants in her neighborhood: “We were not brought up to hate.”

Drammeh also understands the importance of teaching tolerance more broadly, and for turning the school—which was itself founded at the nearby St. Helena Catholic Church on, of all days, Sept. 11, 2001—into a model of sorts for religious tolerance in New York.

“We’re not as divided as the media portrays us to be,” Drammeh said. “Almost 90 percent of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian teachings are the same.”

His latest project involves introducing fifth-grade Jewish and Islamic school students to each other’s religious traditions. Other participants of the program, now in its sixth year, include the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan, the Al Ihsan Academy of Queens, and the Kinneret Day School of Riverdale. At the end of the program, students organize an exhibit that shows family artifacts of their respective cultures and religion. The principal of the Islamic school, who is also Sheik Drammeh’s wife, said that even after the program ended, the participants became “fast friends” and would visit each other’s homes.

“They would have birthday parties together,” Shireena Drammeh said. “When someone invites you to their house, I mean, that says it all right there and then.”

While the Jewish congregants are thankful for their new home, they hope that one day they can rebuild their own synagogue. That day may be far off: Even now that they have space to worship, they still struggle to operate. They don’t have proper heating inside, and the portable working heater could not reach the separate area where the elderly women are seated, forcing them to wear their jackets during the entire service. Congregants are appealing for financial support from the Jewish community and other congregations.

But Leon Bleckman and others say they now also have loftier goals, including reviving the Jewish presence in the neighborhood and reaffirming the positive relationship with their Muslim friends. “We are able to co-exist together side by side in the same building,” said Assistant Rabbi Avi Friedman, 42. “That’s sort of like a taste of the future world to come—the messianic future where all people live in peace.”

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Harold says:

Great story. Inspirational. Thanks!

Ron Wegsman says:

This is especially interesting, because most orthodox Jews believe that Jews are forbidden from entering churches. This leaves one of two possibilities:
(1) The Chabad congregation considers Masjid al-Iman to not really be a mosque, since it is really a storefront, or at least they consider only the room the Muslims use for prayer to be a mosque, and stay out of it; or
(2) They consider mosques to be more kosher than churches.
I’d be curious to know what the congregation’s halakhic reasoning was behind their agreeing to locate in the mosque.

Dick Cheney says:

re Ron Wegsman

There is no Halachic prohibition from entering a mosque, while there is to entering a church. This is because a mosque has no sacrilegious symbols — there is only one god being prayed to there. A church has crosses, icons in orthodox churches, etc, and the concept of trinity directly conflicts with monotheistic Judaism and Islam.

Marty Janner says:

This is a lesson all Jews should learn! This is America!A place where people help their neighbors, regardless of religious affiliation!

I hope that those whom were in opposition to the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan take notice and recite their Yom Kippur Obligation, with the greatest of sincerity!

Good story to read. Much appreciated.

Allen R. Schreiber says:

In Omaha, NE, Temple Israel has outgrown their beautiful building of several decades and is relocating to a new building – to be located on a new campus jointly shared with a mosque and a church. This has been several years in the planning between the three congregations, and is an excellent example of what is possible when we find the commonalities between us instead of focusing on the differences. Who’d think that this giant step forward would occur out here on the Great Plains?

babawawa says:

Leave it to Chabad – they rock!

Karen Tabak says:

Suddenly, I feel like bursting in to the prayer “Ma Tovu”

Vicki Streiff says:

“Nowhere in the world would Jews and Muslims be meeting under the same roof,” said Patricia Tomasulo, the Catholic Democratic precinct captain and Parkchester community organizer.

Happily, Ms. Tomasulo is quite wrong. Here in Bloomington, the congregants of Beth Shalom and the congregants of The Islamic Center of Bloomington, Indiana do our best to eat, learn, pray and do community service together when we can. We had a joint Ramadan break-fast and Sukkot dinner party three years in a row, for example, until the calendars ceased to conveniently align. I could cite many more examples as well.

This is lovely article about something many Jews and Muslims are capable of. May much more continue to happen, in many more places.

Ron Burgundy says:

Thats true, Moslems don’t hate Jews. They (and pretty much the rest of the world) hate Zionists. These are the real cancers of the world and need to be taken out of Israel for peace to happen.

Ron Burgundy makes a fascinating comment. Apparently all forms of self-determination and national feeling are legitimate, except Jewish self-determination and nationalism. Why is that? No bad marks for Muslims? Interesting.

Beautiful story. We need more of such cooperations…

Bedstuy8 says:

A heartwarming look at the sane-aspects of religion in America.

JCarpenter says:

may such wonders never cease, for all people of the book(s)—

Mostafa El Sehamy says:

very nice article

Here is a lesson for the people of Israel & Palestine!! Learn something.

Shmuel says:

Like this story?
You can help the community by finding more people or by contributing or many other ways.
You can contact us by mail: P.O. Box 273, Bronx, NY 10462 or by E-mail:
or by phone:347-770-5452
Thank you!

Fantastic story !

I like all the following names for the 150,000 sq.m. trapezoid platform in the midst of the Old City.

Temple Mount
Noble Sanctuary
Centre of Unfolding Potential
House for All Nations

Marilyn says:

This article is so beautiful! It brings tears of joy to my eyes and happiness to my heart.

Syra Soleri says:

These guys need a heater for the old ladies.

Ali Javed says:

You can’t make money or profits from peace.

I am sure thousands of similar to the one above are floating around the world but our mainstream media don’t want to report them. Which is sad because if they reported similar stories, it would resolve a lot of problems around the world.

Debra J. White says:

Wonderful. I love it.

Beatrice Singer says:

It is good to read about the Jews and Muslims getting along. There is the occasional few instances. They always refer to the Jews as the aggressors. (the Jews themselves are their worst enemies) they just want to appease everyone. If they were what the world perceives them, 6 million would not have perished. The Chabad and a mosque in Mumbai would definitely not have been a good combination.

Alan Epstein says:

This is a very interesting story and shows that even though we may not see eye to eye in how we may view each others’ religion, we can co-exist if we try.

rashid zaidi says:

I am so happy to learn that we can help each other. Our religions are more closer in belief than people care to find out. Since we believe in one God and no trinity Jews come and pray in our masjid
whenever we have interfaith get together.
The media never covers the Iranian president visiting with Rabbis and elders of the Orthodox Jewish faith in New York, whenever he comes to the United Nations. It is ironic, but that is politics!

    Fed_Up18 says:

    That’s because Ahmadinejad only meets with a heretical sect which has been denounced by its own leadership for ideas that bolster Ahmadinejad’s hatred of Jews & Israel.

Heartwarming nonsense. This is nothing but a fluke, a cynical feel-good story.

As a Muslim, I’m not surprised but I’m always very happy to hear about such things happening. THIS is the way things should be. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not and should not be what defines us, Jews and Muslims. There are also many stories of Muslims hiding Jews during the 2nd World war and Jews protecting Muslims in Israel… the media made a lot of money with stirring up fears, let’s hope they do with promoting peace… thank you Tablet mag. PEACE! SHALOM! SALAM!

” The borough was once home to an estimated 630,000 Jews, but by 2002 that number had dropped to 45,100 … At the same time, the Muslim population has been increasing. In Parkchester alone, there are currently five mosques….”

Is this a coincidence that as number of Muslim increased, the Jews disappeared? I do not think so. The article does not tell the whole story here. There is another side of relationship between Jews and Muslims in this borough, which is not mentioned there.

Vintage says:

“Patricia Tomasulo, the Catholic Democratic precinct captain and Parkchester community organizer”

Sure… This has all the footprints of a community organizer. This co-existence might be good PR for Ms. Tomasulo and the Catholic Democratic precinct (whatever that is), but is this PR love story of Jews praying in a Mosque “good for the Jews”? I don’t think so.

Common Americans aren’t buying the mainstream media mantra of the religion of peace. They know that despite peacefulness of many ordinary Muslims, mosques are used to radicalize American youth. Having Jews in such places is an attempt by the Islamic sympathizers to make mosques appear more normal, but for the Jews is will backfire since it would make Jews look more Muslim to a lay person, it would blur the distinction between the jihad-aiding population of Muslims and the holy people and thus would add fuel to various everyday antisemitism.

Regine says:

Love reading something so heartwarming. My husband and I are both Jewish,born in Israel. My daughter is now in a long term relationship with a very sweet, nice and very respectful Muslim man. It amazes me that there are so many similarities in both religions. I wish we could all get along and live and let live to make this world a peaceful, loving place. Come on people, let’s get together and love one another.

Just so you know, people: more than 70% of today’s Jews are converts. They are non-Semites and they are Khazars! Go search online for Khazaria. That’s where ‘White looking’ Jews come from!!! Semitic (Arab) Jews had no reasont o immigrate to Christian areas where they’d be persecuted (i.e., Europe, Russia, etc)!! It makes absolutely no sense for them to do that!!!!! Israelite (Arabian, Semitic) Jews KNEW they weren’t allowed back to Palestine as an act of divine punishment for them, but Zionism (which was created by Khazar / European Jews) forced them back there by bombing their places in Arab countries so they find the only haven in Israel which they were against moving to!!!! Also it makes no sense for Muslim Arabs to drive Jewish Arabs from their homes in Arab lands so they may populate the new state!!!! If anything, then they’d want to convince them to stay so that “Israel” doesn’t have the ‘substance’ it needs for a viable, new country: PEOPLE!!!! Zionism is the evil that has caused all this bloodshed since and before Israel was created!!!! Us Muslim Arabs, like Orthodox Jews, our problem is with Zionism, the racist political movement that seeks to control the WORLD from its throne in Jerusalem, with the Anti-Christ (the False, Awaited Messiah) as their appointed King!!!!!

    I have read all of your words, replies, and your supposed knowledge. I am sorry to tell you that out of all the replies you are by far the most ignorant of them all. I would give a years pay to sit you down and educate you properly. The problem here is that you fall for the lies by the leaders of Jihad and the evil men who don’t care one wit about you, your family or any other human being, be they Muslim, Christian or Jew. What they care about is controlling all humans to live according to their rules, their beliefs, their laws. However, there is a G-d in Heaven and HE alone will decide what happens to mankind and that includes you, me and every other human that HE alone created. So, I suggest before you write a post, open up some real books, with the real truth! As Jesus once said “The truth shall set you free” there is no real freedom without the real truth.

I wish everyone, regardless of their beliefs, would behave in this fashion towards each other.

To understand Muslims, you do not need to read the article: all the truth is in the previous comment by HH. Read it. This is who Muslims are. The article is a sweet lie.

Vintage says:

@Regine: some of us Jews are more delusional than others. There are many Bantus who are nice and Vietnamese aren’t bad either. Yet, why would we seek to marry them? Marrying out of group is not something to celebrate when it happens, but to tolerate and to get adjusted to. Peace to you and your family.

@HH: this is an attractive hypothesis, especially if you are an anti-Zionist, but it has been disproved by the latest genetic research. While there is some Khazarian blood in some of the Jews, the vast majority of today’s Israeli Jews have Middle-Eastern forefathers.

No one can disprove the Khazar majority of today’s Jews!!! It’s evident in their looks and their ‘western’ pronounciation of Hebrew itself!!! They are the ones now running the show in the Zionist Entity. They are Lithuanians, French, Polish, etc!!! For god’s sake, FOR GOD’S SAKE, why would a Jew travel to Christian areas to be persecuted by them who worship Christ and who believe Jews killed him???? That’s a proof they are only the Mongol, Turkic Khazar Jews who converted in the 10th century in the biggest conversion of a single people in human history!!! They are the Gog & Magog mentioned in the holy books of all Semitic religions, they are the ones corrupting the earth!! It all started from the Khazar Jews!!! Go read Imran Hosein’s book “Islamic View of Gog and Magog in the Modern Age” available for free on his website! Go read his other, unique book “Jerusalem in the Quran”!!! Khazar Jews spread into Europe after they became Jews then Christians, and they are the ones behind moral decay and social vices spreading throughout human history today starting from Europe where they settled and mixed with people there first, and now they’re trying to transform all humanity into carbon copies of themselves!! Their hidden king is the Anti-Christ, the one from the loins of David whom their “Protocols of the Elders of zion” reveal must rule the world from Jerusalem!!! That’s why the Zionist-dominated UN turns a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinians. The UN is the precursor for the one world Zionist government being sought. Blue and white colors of the Zionist flag are those in the UN’s, Freemasonry’s, even Facebook now, Wal-Mart, the NATO, even the so-called “star of David” makes up the logo for recycling companies, the bins of which also come in blue and white!!! Zionism is criminal Judaism, and it’s anti-human. Palestine is central in their plans. Palestinian flag should be the flag of all oppressed humans worldwide.

Vintage says:

@HH You are a troll. Also, you are a person unfamiliar with either history or science but very familiar with anti-Zionist literature and hate.

To understand how people’s look express their ancestry, one must possess some rudimentary knowledge of phenotype vs. genotype. I’m mostly writing this for other readers, but miracles do happen and a troll like you might actually find this info, read it, and comprehend it.

Jewish possession of the Israeli territory is not based only on ancient historical claims but on actual possession, international agreements, and spoils of war.

Re: “Palestinian flag should be the flag of all oppressed humans worldwide.”

Instead of wishing for the oppressed humans to have a flag, I wish for fewer oppressed humans. And that’s our major difference. Palestinians are a tool of the Marxists and their creation. The two are toying with each other, thinking that later on, they’ll be able to ditch the other. But in the end, both sides are fighting to further enslave and oppress all humanity.

Zionist possession of my country Palestine was due to collaboration of world super powers at the time. They’ve cited a divine promise to the Israelites to claim right to the land. The promise is for Abraham’s offspring who hold true to God’s way, and that’s something Muslims (through Arabs, who are descended from Abraham) have fulfilled, not the so-called ‘Jews’!!! God said Palestine is belong to Abraham’s SEED after him for eternity, and no one can claim that Abraham’s seed is restricted to only Isaac’s descendents. Looking at history, Palestine has been mostly in Arab hands, save for less than 100 years of Crusader occupation and now the Zionist (another form of Crusader) entity -which will last also less than 100 years! And such a short period of time is NOTHING in the history of mankind. Palestine is proven to be an Arab, Muslim land, what we’re seeing now is an act of aggression just like the Crusaders’ in the middle ages, and it’s bound to end because of the vast Muslim Sunni Arab ocean that will engulf this little dirty island of Zionists and swallow it like it never existed.

Jews of today are a tool in Zionist hands as well. Naturi Karta group of Orthodox Jews reject Israel because it’s against Judaism to build a state after God drove them out. And still, you cannot DENY that Khazar Jews are more than 70% of Jews of today, you cannot explain the non-Semitic looks no matter WHAT you say! Most Israelite Jews have become fully Arabized and became Muslim, be them in the Arab World or the lost tribes some of which are found now among Afghanistan’s Pashtoon tribes like you people yourselves have admitted! You forbid on us now the right to liberate our land, and call it terrorism, while you’ve done just that in 1948 with your Zionist militias, some of its heads became PMs after they were wanted for the British mandate authorities!!! Zionism makes international law now, hence they outlaw our right to restore our land, but nothing ever stays the same. wait & see :)

the reality is that they only wanted Palestine as the throne of their world government, using its strategic location among the continents of the ancient world and in the heart of the arab world to prevent it from uniting and to be the spearhead in every campaign against the establishment of a true islamic (sunni only -the shia aren’t muslims) state or caliphate. but we are promised by our prophet that the caliphate will be established again after an age of tyranny and oppression -and we all know that you poor Zionists were and remain allies with all arab dictators whom we don’t consider muslim anymore for having allied with crusaders / zionists. please read the book ‘Day of Wrath’ available also online for saudi shaikh Safar al-Hawali who interpretted prophet Daniel’s vision (the famous ‘beast’ one) which the prophet had seen during babylonian captivity. whatever Zionism does, it won’t rule over us forever, and the world is awakening to its filth and it will be stopped eventually, sooner or later. and oh, the above story is true because that’s what our religion taught us. that’s why Jews existed among us for centuries unharmed. but how did the ungrateful returned the favor? look at palestine. very typical jewish mannerism. very typical. we know your story with prophet moses who you almost drove him up the wall with ur ingratitude, heresies and shallow minds!!! we know ur story very VERY well, and so does the world.

Thank God, or if you prefer Goodness, some people can see beyond the shadows of fear, hatred, and unscrupulous ambition. I especially like the comment of the Chassid who said this is a foreshadowing of the world to come, the Messianic Age.

Antonowicz says:

There will always be skeptics but you have to believe that the longest journey begins with the first step…and what we have here are baby steps. May this inspire similar co-operation everywhere.

HH you are an obvious troll pushing a false and discredited myth. Recent decades of genetic and DNA studies have proven ALL jews whether they be ashkenazi, mizrahi or sephardic are all closely related. The ‘Khazar’ myth has been proven false and it is estimated based on haplotypes, that 8% of European jews have DNA which originates in eastern Europe. Most geneticists point to the Ukraine as the likely source.

HH, jews existed among you ‘unharmed.’? What an ignorant troll you are. Jews existed as Dhimmis, second-class citizens along with christians who were discriminated against according to sharia law. Occassiona and regular massacres were the rule for any imagined offense against Islam. Jews were tolerated because they provided tax money for the muslim rulers. Not only are you ignorant on the genetic unity of all jews but you are also ignorant on the history of jews living under muslim rule.

Islam is an arab adaptation of rabbinical Judaism. Without Judaism there is no islam. Mohammed learned from the Jews about the One God but when they rejected him, rightly so, when wanted them to recognize him as their ‘prophet’ his heart turned cold against them and he slaughtered them at every opportunity.There is a very ancient story still known that the many numerous errors in the Koran relating to Old Testament figures and events were purposely done by the Jewish scribes Mohammed used to teach him Jewish history to alert all Jews and Christians to this false prophet and his claims.

I live in Israel and I really appreciate this article. Please, submit more like this if you have one to share. I see Moslem people everywhere I go, from the grocery, to the University, to the hospital, and also at work. We don’t mix that much; but when we do, there are so many good stories. They just never get told. Fear keeps us apart and stories like this humanize both sides.

as a muslim, as I pray for good for his fellow muslim brothers wherever located. May God always give ease. Regard,

Jamil M Chaudri says:

This is indeed glory to the Jewish and Muslim peoples and gloey to America the Beautiful

Tassulah says:

As wonderful as this is, it is not an isolated situation. There’s a mosque in Northern Virginia called the ADAMS center that does the same thing, although in “reverse”. The rent space from two different Synagogues. For those comments that distill poison, go ahead. We understand that you don’t know any better. But remember that even when you’re drowning in your venom, we refuse to hate!

shereen says:

that’s how the jews n muslims lived in palestine anyway,before the nakba.

    Umish Katani says:

    Not quite, need i remind you of the pogroms in Hebron in the 1920’s and the riots in Jerusalemin the 40″s. NOt to that the Palestinian Mufti was a Hitler supporter and went to Germany looking for support to buildhis country and rid palestine of the Jews. Read your history. t this imam is not arab but gambian and the sensibilites are different. But i am happy there are sane heads in the Bronx, my birthplace. It was a wonderful place to grow up in the 50’s, 60’s.

      Amane Isa says:

      You’re assuming that this wonderful story is because the Muslims here aren’t Arab. You couldn’t be more wrong. I’m Palestinian myself, and I’m a member of the Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace, and there are plenty of stories available of Muslim (Arab) co-existence with Jews in a similar fashion to the article. Also, the “pogroms” and riots in Jerusalem that you’re referring to aren’t based on ethnic/religious hatred; the decades between the 1900’s and the 1940’s saw a massive influx of Jewish immigration to Palestine, and the local Palestinian peasants felt like their economic livlihoods would be threatened since many Palestinian peasants were being kicked off their land because landlords were selling their property to wealthy Jews and Jewish communes. Before the 1900’s, the Palestinians and Jews lived in peace. You have to learn to differentiate between violence caused by socio-economic shifts and violence caused by religious and ethnic hatred.

        Umish Katani says:

        i have had contact with the organization you describe in your notes… and i think they live in a fantasy world. In any given war there is only one winner…. I don’t think given the levels of animosity and hate propaganda that is generated by Hamas and Fatah, that either one will ever allow any peace to go through. As for your first statement you are incorrect. In ww2 the Bosnian moslems hid the Jews from the Nazis as did the Bulgarians who were christian and put themselves at great risk.. They both were not Arabs. Neither side went to Hitler to form a partnership, but the Palestinians did….. I foresee a treaty eventually but it will be cold….. both sides will live and let live but there will be no interactions, friendships nor political connections… There will be trade due to money but that’s about it. Until the rockets and the nuclear annihilation threats stop……there will never be peace.

There’s precedent for this from the inception of the codification of surrendering to G-d (literal meaning of Islam):

“In the year 10 A.H. (631 CE), Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received a delegation of sixty Christians from Najran in Medinah. The territory of Najran was located south of Bani Khath’am near Yemen, about 450 miles south of Medinah. They were received in the Prophet’s mosque, and the Prophet allowed them to pray in the mosque, which they did facing East. This group of Christians followed Byzantine rite.”

Retrieved from

“Those who believe (in the Qur’ân), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, — any who believe in G-d and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with the Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”

Qur’ân 2: 62

It’s time for people to get with the program.

Umish Katani says:

@Karim, the Israeli Palestinian conflict does define the mentality of the whole mid east. it is the center of the conflict, that being the excuse the Muslim world uses as the pretext for the annihilation if the Jews there. Yes there were Muslims who hid the Jews in ww2, but they were Bosnian and not Arab…. as i said below in another reply. the Palestinian Muslim Arabs were the only ones to go to Hitler to ask for his help to rid Palestine of the Jews… no other Muslims under the axis control did that. including the ones in the caucasas’s areas, Until the propaganda war, by hamas ans fatah end, and the rockets end,. and al qaida stops operating from Gaza, and suicide bombers end, and the arab kids are taught that Jews are not dogs but humans ( see you tube videos of the indoctrinations on kiddie TV)… there will be no peace. The Palestinians will live in hovels and Israel will continue to have the type of society that Gaza could only dream of, democracy, eduction, freedom fo speech, thought and religion, secular, and free with equal rights to women and everyone else. ……

Hebrew and Arabic share many words that were in use 2000 years ago and are in use today.Some are identical [the number four – arba] others having the same root [the number ten – eser,ashara,prophet – navi,nebi, Joseph – yosav,yussuf, queen – malka,malika]. Arabs and Jews share so much; it’s such a shame that when Jews returned to the places mentioned in the Bible,they were seen as a threat by many in the leadership in the Levant.Fortunately, in the Bronx and elsewhere, this fear is non-existent and cooperation rules the day.

Hebrew and Arabic share many words that were in use 2000 years ago and are in use today.Some are identical [the number four – arba] others having the same root [the number ten – eser,ashara,prophet – navi,nebi, Joseph – yosav,yussuf, queen – malka,malika]. Arabs and Jews share so much; it’s such a shame that when Jews returned to the places mentioned in the Bible,they were seen as a threat by many in the leadership in the Levant.Fortunately, in the Bronx and elsewhere, this fear is non-existent and cooperation rules the day.

Hebrew and Arabic share many words that were in use 2000 years ago and are in use today.Some are identical [the number four – arba] others having the same root [the number ten – eser,ashara,prophet – navi,nebi, Joseph – yosav,yussuf, queen – malka,malika]. Arabs and Jews share so much; it’s such a shame that when Jews returned to the places mentioned in the Bible,they were seen as a threat by many in the leadership in the Levant.Fortunately, in the Bronx and elsewhere, this fear is non-existent and cooperation rules the day.

I’m no longer pursuing a faith, preferring logic, BUT even I know the differences between the Jews, Muslims and Christians are small. This action appeals to me from both a logical perspective as well as an humane one. I wish this was the rule and not an exception.

A most excellent adventure in humanity!

As a secular American of Moroccan ancestry, I am not surprised at all by this article. Both Muslims and Jews lived together and raised their children together peacefully in Morocco, North Africa for several centuries. Not all Jews hate Muslims and not all Muslims hate Jews. The frictions rise from the conflict between Palestinians and Jews Zionists over the land of Palestine or Israel or whatever you want to call it ( depending on which religion you were born into or converted to.) The truth is that land is a piece of earth created by Almighty God who in turn created all humans . There is nothing wrong if everyone could simply live there under one diverse , secular state . A state that guaranties equality , human rights and freedom of religion for all.Just saying.

Renee L. Ten Eyck says:

Love love love this! This is the way things should be. We CAN live and exist side by side!

John Herby says:

Peace! Shalom! Salam!
Oh Lord! Please bless them to be a good human ! Amen!


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