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Our book and the Ground Zero Mosque

August 26, 2010
Hurray for Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center for his insightful blog on CNN, in which he led the Jewish support for the "Mosque" near Ground Zero. He wrote, “The Shalom Center, in consultation with dozens of rabbis and other Jewish leaders of a very wide spectrum of Jewish life, has issued a statement supporting Cordoba's plans as an affirmation of the deepest commitments of Islam to live in peace and as a direct rebuke to the 9/11 terrorists who justified their murders in the name of Islam.” His point was sharpest when he connected with the history of prohibitions against Jews building synagogues at “sensitive” sites.

Arthur is part of this Three Testaments online community, as is Daisy Khan, the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, her partner in leadership of the Cordoba Institute. Arthur led our Shabbat service and contributed in other ways to our conference last year in New York, and Daisy assisted us in organizing the conference, both helping to insure fulsome Jewish and Muslim participation in an event which took place in a Christian Church.

The book, Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel and Quran may cause a similar storm in some quarters. I can imagine the review we will get from Pastor Terry Jones of the ironically named “Dove World Outreach Centre,” where they plan to burn Qurans on September 11 of this year. But our book is intended to engage these three communities and others in the pursuit of understanding, and the alternative is to turn everything over to the extremists on both sides.

Perhaps like President Obama, not all the members of this online community will agree with the wisdom of building the Islamic center near Ground Zero at this time, but I pause to salute the leadership, courage and intensions of people like Daisy and Arthur in our midst, and to wish them well as the work continues on our book. Like them, we do not intend to provoke controversy, but it may come and we should be wisely sensitive, going forward without compromise.
Posted by: Brian Arthur Brown