Responding to Ahmadinejad
by Rabbi Isaac Jeret
September 25, 2008
The leadership of the American Muslim community, from those who head major organizations to the Imams in each and every Mosque, bear a heavy burden today. They MUST speak out against the insidious, malicious, and inciting remarks by Iran's president at the United Nations, lest they give their tacit approval to such sentiments. History has proven that silence is indeed acquiescence in situations just such as these. Moreover, the overwhelming failure on the part of Muslim leadership, the world over, to condemn Muslim violence against Jews in Israel and elsewhere and, specifically, to condemn unequivocally organized terrorism by Muslim groups, over the last eight years and prior, is utterly shameful; the Muslim community's local, regional, and national leadership -- BOTH political and religious -- now has an opportunity to redeem itself by condemning in the strongest manner Ahmadinejad's remarks.
Of course, it didn't help this cause when the majority of the rest of the world's representatives to the United Nations responded with grand applause to Ahmadinejad's remarks. However, this call is to the leadership of the AMERICAN Muslim community, hoping that, just as we Jews are willing to condemn hate and terror if and when they arise among elements of our own communities, in America, in Israel or anywhere else, they will do the same -- in this instance and forever more. Maybe then, terror and violence will seem less reasonable an alternative for the next generation of Muslims throughout the world.
May the New Year begin with the strongest voice of unequivocal opposition to and condemnation of Ahmadinejad's remarks, voiced by the American Muslim community -- on the national, regional, and local levels. May such historic remarks then bring about a change of rhetoric, toward similar condemnation, among Muslim political and religious leaders throughout the world. And, may we then, as a united Jewish community, and with great resolve, find the strength to risk embracing such unequivocal condemnation and pursue with ever-greater vigor a path of dialogue and mutual understanding, but, only with those among the Muslim community's leadership who speak or write their condemnations and opposition unequivocally, publicly, and loudly.
And, dear friends, if none of the above can be achieved, may God then bless us with even greater resolve and strength to acknowledge openly the true meaning of the silence and/or "even-handed" pseudo-condemnations among the Muslim community's leadership. May we then find the courage to withhold our support for the self-deprecating and provincially self-centered interfaith dialogue that so many of us pursue every day with local, regional, and national Muslim leaders, and which they have used, in turn, to gain and claim legitimacy in the eyes of America and to divide one Jew from another. And, may we then see with greater clarity and unanimity the need to stand with Israel evermore and steadfastly, for Israel's struggle should then be clear to all of us to be our own.
With every hope for a New Year filled with God's blessings of wisdom, clarity, conviction, courage, and strength for the entirety of our People -- and with every prayer that a change in the Muslim world -- beginning right here in America -- might allow us to work together toward a genuine and durable peace for all of us and all of humanity,
Rabbi Isaac Jeret
(To watch Ahmadinejad's remarks, please click here: Youtube Video)