SAN ANTONIO – Religious leaders came together to speak about the issues affecting Jewish-Muslim relations here in San Antonio on Sunday.
It was all part of a community-wide interfaith dialogue.
News 4 San Antonio’s Gary Cooper was there and talks about the message they have for you, and the change they want to see.
It’s been said if you want to start a fight, talk about religion.
Well, a group of Jews and Muslims talk about their religions in the effort to stop the fighting.
What you had was two beliefs, two ideologies in one room.
Congregation Agudas Achim hosted Imam Abdullah.
In other words, Jews and Muslims in one building.
“Today, Jews and Muslims are not having their best time,” said Abdullah. “The biased information we are seeing with one another is very common among the sources of information they rely on.
At a time when headlines from the other side of the world are barbaric, Imam Abdullah said the time for dialogue and education is now.
“If you don’t meet any Muslims, if you don’t meet any Jews and all you hear about each other is through the lenses and prisms of 9/11, Israeli/Palestinian Conflict, the image of that faith and tradition becomes a very negative pejorative.” he said.
Rabbi Jeffery Abraham said the same.
“We are just afraid to take that leap, one of the reasons we wanted to have that event today is to start that first step,” he said.
Both said it’s one thing to talk to people who are set in their ways, but it’s another to talk to children.
“And we never stop to think about that Muslims might not be that way and that we could be friends… and it doesn’t have to be that way,” said 7-year-old Jocelyn Epstein.
People have killed in the name of religion for centuries. It seems not much has changed.
“But that responsibility is not only to Muslims, our fellow American citizens have a responsibility to have a much more informed, much more educated, much more sophisticated conversation other than buying into this cheap message that, ‘Islam is evil and Muslims are terrorists,” Abdullah said.
The discussion is already having an effect.
“We need to be a role model for the other nations to show them what it would be like and how it could be if we are friends.” said Epstein.
The synagogue said it would like to host more discussions like these in the future.