Both Feeling Threatened, American Muslims and Jews Join Hands
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN DEC. 5, 2016
NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Jolted into action by a wave of hate crimes that followed the election victory of Donald J. Trump, American Muslims and Jews are banding together in a surprising new alliance. …
Vaseem Firdaus, a Muslim who has lived in the United States for 42 years, spent Friday night at a Shabbat dinner for members of a women’s group called the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, in a home here filled with Jewish art and ritual objects.
… After joining in blessings over home-baked challah and sparkling grape juice (instead of wine, out of consideration for the Muslims), Ms. Firdaus talked with four Jewish women she had never met before, balancing plates of Indian food on their laps. They found that the spate of hate crimes and the ominous talk by Mr. Trump or his advisers about barring Muslims from entering the country and registering those living here had caused all of them to think about Germany in the years before the Holocaust.
The Jewish women tried to convince her that they would not let it come to that. “If Muslims have to register, we’re all going to register,” said Mahela Morrow-Jones, who is helping to build the first West Coast chapter of the Sisterhood in Santa Barbara, Calif. “You’ve got to believe it, sister.” …
Nearly 500 Muslim and Jewish women, many wearing head scarves and skullcaps, gathered on Sunday at Drew University in Madison, N.J., in what organizers said was the largest such meeting ever held in the United States. It was the third annual conference of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a grass-roots group that now claims 50 chapters in more than 20 states. The first conference two years ago drew only 100 people.
The women spread out inside an enormous sports complex and met in clusters to study sacred texts on the racquetball courts, practice self-defense techniques in the dance studio and, in the bleachers, discuss how to talk to friends whose impression of Islam had been shaped entirely by news of terrorist attacks. …
Over lunch and in the hallways, they traded stories about the latest ugly outbreaks back home: a brick thrown through the window of a Muslim-owned restaurant in Kansas, apartments of Muslim families in Virginia hit with eggs and graffiti, swastikas scrawled on synagogues and in a playground in New York. Sisterhood chapters keep track of the incidents on their Facebook pages and other social media.
Here’s Senator Cory Booker dancing on Purim while carrying Shmuley Boteach (Michael Jackson’s rabbi and Efraim Diveroli’s uncle) on his back in a clown suit. (To be honest, that clip’s not all that relevant to the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, but I hadn’t posted this video in several weeks, so here it is!)
The executive committee co-president of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is Faria Abedin, who says:
Faria is very interested in engaging in efforts that promote an American Muslim identity for our youth, which for her includes interfaith dialogue.Faria Abedin might not be related to Huma Abedin (but then again, might be — Huma has 54 first cousins). But Ms. Abedin is the mother of #BLMx100 Stanford admittee Ziad Ahmed, who is just about the only male to have a speaking role in the Sisterhood’s promotional video: