In America Both feeling threatened, Muslims and Jews join hands

Groups are reaching out not just to clergy members, but also to laypeople, including business executives, students and women

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Both feeling threatened, Muslims and Jews join hands play

Both feeling threatened, Muslims and Jews join hands

(The New York Times)
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Jolted into action by a wave of hate crimes that followed the election victory of Donald Trump, American Muslims and Jews are banding together in a surprising new alliance.

They are putting aside for now their divisions over Israel to join forces to resist whatever may come next. New groups are forming, and interfaith coalitions that already existed say interest is increasing.

Vaseem Firdaus, a Muslim who has lived in the United States for 42 years, spent Friday night at a Shabbat dinner for members of a women’s group called the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom.

Until Trump was elected president, Firdaus, who is 56 and a manufacturing manager at Exxon Mobil, felt secure living as a Muslim in America. But Trump’s victory has shaken her sense of comfort and security.

Firdaus talked with four Jewish women she had never met before. They found that the spate of hate crimes and the ominous talk by Trump or his advisers about barring Muslims from entering the country and registering those living here had caused all of them to think about Germany in the years before the Holocaust.

Groups are reaching out not just to clergy members, but also to laypeople, including business executives, students and women.

Nearly 500 Muslim and Jewish women, many wearing headscarves and skullcaps, gathered Sunday at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, in what organizers said was the largest such meeting ever held in the United States. It was the third annual conference of the Sisterhood, a grass-roots group that now claims 50 chapters in more than 20 states. The first conference two years ago drew only 100 people.

“Ignorance is one of the key triggers of hate,” said Sheryl Olitzky, the group’s executive director, in her opening remarks. “We need to show the world that we are Americans. We are here because we love each other and we’re overcoming hate.

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