ROXBURY, Mass. On the eve of Ramadan and the Jewish high holidays, some Muslim and Jewish leaders have signed a joint statement aimed at mending a rift over construction of a mosque in Roxbury.
41 Muslim and Jewish leaders and one board of rabbis say they hope their statement of shared beliefs will replace fear and distrust with respect for religious differences.
Alan Solomont, a past chair of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, says it is time to end disputes over the mosque, “And also to ease some raw feelings that exist and try to look forward, not backward at what we have in common as faith communities.”
Jewish groups who claimed the mosque was financed, in part, by anti-semitic or terrorist leaders did not sign the statement, and some signatories acknowledge it could become its own lightening rod for controversy.
For WBUR, I’m Martha Bebinger.
THE JOINT STATEMENT IS BELOW.
Building A Community of Trust
We, members of the Jewish and Muslim communities, seek to build trust and mutual understanding and strive to forge positive relationships between our respective communities. We are determined to work together in order to replace fear, distrust, and misunderstanding of each for the other, where it exists, with hope, and respectful communication.
As shared beliefs:
— We affirm the common humanity of all racial, religious, and ethnic groups, and our common needs for safety, security and dignity.
— We decry all forms of terrorism, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim prejudice, or any other form of discrimination or stigmatization against any racial, religious or ethnic group.
— We support the rights, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, of faith communities to gather for worship.
To give expression to these beliefs:
— We support existing efforts, and the creation of additional opportunities, for open and honest interfaith and intercultural dialogue in Greater Boston
— We will strive to address disagreements and community concerns in ways that promote reconciliation rather than conflict.
— We urge leaders in our respective communities to publicly commit to these initiatives, and to seek additional means to build intercultural trust and mutual understanding.
We embrace a Greater Boston that is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious, in which our diversity is respected and valued. We will together foster efforts to improve understanding and to decrease divisions between our communities. We will work towards a more harmonious Boston in which all people of good will share concerns in a civil manner, promote hope and not fear, and together enrich the civic life of our community.