Book Discusses Jewish-Muslim Relationship

Staff Writer

Two authors are hoping to break down the barriers that exist between Muslims and Jewish people.

Rabbi Marc Schneier and Imam Shamsi Ali will discuss their new book, “Sons of Abraham: A Candid Conversation About the Issues that Divide and Unite Muslims and Jews,” at the Forest Hills Jewish Center on Sunday, Dec. 15, hosted by the Central Queens Y.

Imam Shamsi Ali (left) and Rabbi Marc Schneier.

Imam Shamsi Ali (left) and Rabbi Marc Schneier.

The discussion will center around identifying what separates Muslims and Jews from each other, what they actually have in common and breaking down stereotypes that many say about both religions.

Both Schneier and Ali said the idea for the book came after they realized that each religion distrusted each other, in part, because of the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, along with the lack of understanding of traditions between the two religions.

The two brought up the concept of “chosen-ness” as an issue between Muslims and Jews. Schneier said each religion refers to themselves as the “chosen people” and it often brought about the argument over which people are chosen by god.

Stereotypes also exist between the two parties.

Ali said one stereotype discussed is that Muslims believe Jews “have grand designs to rule the world” and “Jewish people will never be pleased with Muslims anywhere, any time.”

He added literal translations of verses in the Quran and the Torah can often add to this conflict. Schneier said there are extremists on both sides, including people who deny the Holocaust occurred.

“And so writing this book is an eye-opener to both Muslims and Jews that what both know about each other needs to be clarified, renewed. Both need to transform their minds from suspicion to trust,” Ali said.

The discussion will begin at 2 p.m. The Forest Hills Jewish Center is located at 106-06 Queens Blvd.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, or @luisgronda.