February 28, 2009
Muslims in America are ethnically, religiously, and politically diverse and the Muslim community in America is evolving – as are the relationships between Muslims and Jews. We recognize with concern that there have been incidents of stereotyping, scapegoating and bigotry directed at Muslim Americans for no reason other than their religious identity, and we deplore such incidents and the attitudes that give rise to them. As Jews, we are especially sensitive to these immoral acts and recognize their corrupting influence on our society.
The JCPA applauds the progress that has taken place in Muslim-Jewish relationships, including local and national dialogues that have deepened mutual understanding, that have advanced shared commitments to social justice and equality. Tensions remain and are difficult matters for community relations agencies to navigate. However, they should not necessarily preclude efforts to dialogue. Representatives of all faith communities should be held to the same standards of mutual civility, respect and recognition. Violence and hatred are never excusable.
We commend those in the Muslim community who have publicly reaffirmed the peaceful principles of their faith and who have spoken clearly against interpretations of Islam that have been used to justify terrorism or anti-Jewish attitudes. While we vigorously support the efforts of law enforcement to combat terror, we recognize that some Muslim-Americans have been the target of efforts that have, at times, been overzealous. Jewish and Muslim Americans, where appropriate, should work in coalition to advance our common commitment to civil liberties, the struggle against all forms of terrorism, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim prejudice, or any other form of discrimination or stigmatization against any racial, religious, or ethnic group. This includes expanding coalition efforts to urge public officials to take all available steps to prevent and end any harassment of and discrimination against Muslim Americans, Jews or others in our country who have been targeted by hate and discrimination. The community relations fields should also identify and confront any manifestations of bias in our own community and strive to address disagreements and community concerns in ways that promote mutual understanding and respect rather than conflict.