Will 2017 be the year noted in history books where Muslim and Jewish people start uniting with each other against intolerance worldwide at a rapid rate? There are stories circulating about the rise of Muslim and Jewish unity because of Trump, and it appears this trend will grow stronger in 2017.
Starting in March 2016, news stories about Muslim and Jewish unity began to appear more frequently because thousands of Muslims in America stood up for Jewish presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
Soon after that surge of support for Bernie Sanders, Trump and his supporters were identified as the cause for both the Muslim and Jewish communities to experience intolerance, and this intolerance has united the two groups.
For example, Trump’s Muslim ban and association with alt-right promoter, Steve Bannon, has led to giving “white supremacists plenty of reasons to feel he’s copacetic with their agenda,” according to U.S. News.
Since these racist Trump supporters are feeling empowered, it is assumed that this is why they are committing more hate crimes against both the Muslim and Jewish communities.
In the beginning, Muslims and Jews united against discrimination from Trump himself. For example, when the Muslim registry idea popped up in the media, the Jewish community immediately came to the defense of Muslim Americans.
In addition to at least four petitions and an official website, Jewish historians also stepped up to say that the behavior of Trump toward Muslims was absolutely unacceptable, according to J Weekly.
Sadly, what is becoming more common in 2017 are news stories about Muslim and Jewish people united against alt-right hate crimes that have been on the rise against Jewish people since Trump has taken office.
For example, there has been a surge in bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers across America since the beginning of January, according to NY Times. In some estimates, more than 100 bomb threats have been made in the first two months of 2017.
Independent reported on March 4 that hate crimes in NYC have risen 55 percent since the same time last year, and they saw a 94 percent increase in anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2017.
During the same time period, when Muslim people were being targeted, Jewish people stepped in to help. According to NPR, in January there were two mosques burned down in Texas. Following the news, over $1 million was raised to rebuild the mosque.
Adding to this, a nearby Jewish synagogue gave the Muslims that attended one of the burned mosques the keys to their synagogue so they would have a place to pray until they were able to build a new mosque.
Returning the show of support, when Jewish cemeteries were vandalized in St. Louis and Pennsylvania in February, Muslims raised thousands of dollars for repairs.
NBC Nightly News interviewed Salaam Bhatti of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center on February 27 about why his organization donated to the Jewish cemetery repairs. About the hate crimes, Bhatti stated, “I’m worried more that this is being seen as [something] okay to do.”
Interestingly, some Muslims feel it is their duty to protect Jewish people. In a tweet, Tayyib Rashid wrote on February 27, “I’m a Muslim Marine in Chicagoland area. If your synagogue or Jewish cemetery needs someone to stand guard, count me in. Islam requires it.”
As of March 5, Tayyib Rashid’s tweet has 13,000 favorites and 5,500 retweets.
Pop culture is also reflecting this need to show that Jewish and Muslim Americans are happy to stand up for each other. For example, a Jewish and Muslim neighbor relationship is part of the new Superior Donuts CBS TV show starring Judd Hirsch, Maz Jobrani, and David Koechner.
In their Season 1, Episode 5 show titled “Takin’ It to the Streets,” Maz Jobrani’s dry cleaning shop is vandalized with anti-Arab graffiti. Countering this, Judd Hirsch’s character writes graffiti on his donut shop that says “Arabs welcome.”
For all of these reasons, 2017 might be a year noted as a strong year for Jewish and Muslim unity worldwide, but this movement has been in the works for a while. Before the political elections in 2016 where Muslims stood up for Jewish candidate Bernie Sanders, there were other efforts to show Muslims and Jews only want the best for each other.
For example, there were multiple viral videos starting around 2012 that were titled Muslims love Israel and vice versa. Also in 2012, smaller community-based events started popping up in headlines and Chicago Tribune reported that Muslims and Jews were getting together for an interfaith bike ride.
Preceding this, Pop Chassis put together a list in 2013 that showed 10 ways Muslims and Jewish people have shown respect for each other and built community in the past 100 years.
Community-building aside, one other key reason that Muslim and Jewish people should continue to unite against Trump and intolerance is because the two groups are often used as political pawns.
For example, Bernie Sanders stated on February 12 on Meet The Press with Chuck Todd that is it important for all people to remember that the Muslim ban was just a distraction created by Trump — and implied this type of scapegoating propaganda should always be avoided.
Like the Muslim registry that Trump’s campaign was proposing, there will likely continue to be a need for Muslim and Jewish unity in the future. This is especially true in order to have preventative tactics in place to defend against any future intolerance that may still be coming from the Trump campaign or his alt-right supporters.
Thankfully, the road to breaking new ground in the Muslim and Jewish alliances around the world will continue to grow stronger in 2017 through key events.
For example, in 2017 there will be the first Jewish and Muslim women’s conference in the U.K., according to The JC. The intended theme of the Jewish and Muslim women’s conference will be “changing the narrative.”
Also in 2017, there will be another Muslim Jewish Conference. This conference is a registered non-profit organization based in Austria, and the annual event is held in a new country each year. The goal is to unite 100 Muslim and Jewish students to concentrate on “the creation of shared values and meaningful interactions.”
Ultimately, there may be more to this need for unity between the Jewish and Muslim communities than first meets the eye.
For example, Forward writes on March 5 that, when talking about the need for unity in the Muslim and Jewish communities in Chicago in 2017, it was noted that there were at least two types of “affinity” that is shared between the two groups. Namely, Muslims may likely “see Jews as a model of how to survive in America.”
About this topic, Rabbi Andrea London of Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois, stated the following.
“[Muslims] want to learn how to preserve their faith as a minority religion. The Jewish community has done that successfully. They’ve set up institutions and teach their children, but they have also become part of the dominant society.”
[Featured Image by Adam Berry/Getty Images]