Muslim Public Affairs Council Hosts Forum on Jewish-Muslim Relations

July 3, 2006

Source: Muslim Public Affairs Council press release

On July 3, 2006 a Muslim Public Affairs Council press release reported, "On Sunday, July 2nd, prominent Muslim and Jewish religious leaders participated in a townhall forum organized by the Muslim Public Affairs Council to discuss the current state of Muslim-Jewish relations. Panelists -- including Rabbi Stephen Julius Stein (Wilshire Boulevard Temple), Dr. Saleh Kholaki (Islamic Center of Southern California), Edina Lekovic (MPAC), and Jaime Rapaport (Progressive Jewish Alliance) -- also shared their perspectives on the impact of Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip this week, which has heightened the humanitarian crisis facing 1.4 million Palestinians. The event comes one week after Rabbi Stephen Julius Stein's publication of an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times which underscored the need for authentic engagement between the two communities that is not founded upon suspicion and an assumption of guilt and animosity. As a case study, he reflected on a recent fundraiser held by a prominent Jewish organization which featured Dr. Wafa Sultan as the keynote speaker. Sultan gained vast media attention after she was featured in a debate on Al-Jazeera earlier this year, during which she claimed 'the Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations' and 'I don't believe you can reform Islam'... Dr. Maher Hathout, MPAC Senior Advisor, stressed the importance of maintaining dialogue between the two communities particularly in such difficult times. 'The brutal use of power and collective punishment should be opposed by all sides,' Hathout said. 'We should remain committed to maintaining dialogue between our two communities particularly in such difficult times, while simultaneously calling our government to oppose the occupation of Palestinian territories.'"