Jews, Muslims, and Interfaith Dialogue

I’m working on a two-part article on my blog, focusing on the comparative study of revelation and law in Judaism and Islam. While the subject definitely is interesting enough to write about here, I still felt like writing about something else, though still related, namely the interfaith dialogue between Jews and Muslims. If not the lack of it.

I know that it exists in the States, with a number of different and amazing initiatives going on. Also outside these initiatives, in the meeting between individuals of the two faiths, are we witnessing progress. However, here in Israel it doesn’t exist to the same extent, and I wonder why.

Sure, Jews and Muslims are relating to each other here, on some level, but mostly either in context of the conflict – where it more seems to be based on political disagreements, as Israeli vs. Palestinian – or as individual beings having some form of contact on the street.

But we don’t see a greater interest in the other as a religious community, what “they” believe, what “it” means for their lives, how “it” influences the way “they” relate to the “other” and “their” presence here. Here you can insert “Jews/Muslims” and “Judaism/Islam” for “they/it/other”.

While it shouldn’t be surprising that this is the case, it is still sad and – I believe – something that prevent a mutual acception. Considering the many similarities our two religions have in common, it is sad that we can’t talk more with each other about them.

It would definitely be better to see more initiatives making it possible, to have Jews and Muslims relate to each other as partners in the Holy Land, rather than opponents.

We just need the initiatives.

About the Author
Peter Kaltoft is from Denmark, and moved to Israel in 2010. He reads and writes about religion and society. Subjects for the blog will typically be focused on religion in Israel, Jewish-Muslim relations, religious identity, and fundamentalism
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