February 10, 2016 – News of Abrahamic Interest

Concept of the Abrahamic Family Spreading Big Time








To those of us who have been working  to promote the idea that Jews, Christians, and Muslims are indeed a family, these last two weeks have been gratifying. The most significant event was the proclamation of the Marrakesh Declaration which reaffirms the validity of the Constitution of Medina laid down by Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century CE. The document   recognized civil, religious, and property rights of religious minorities in what became the second holiest city in Islam, after Mecca. The Constitution paid particular attention to the rights of the several Jewish clans in Medina.

The significance of the Marrakesh Declaration for the 21st century is that it invokes the sacredness of the concept of civil liberties and dignity for religious minorities as decreed by Prophet Muhammad. This is in effect a powerful condemnation of the brutal distortions of Islamic tradition used to justify violence and murder by political actors against religious minorities, including, within Islam itself. The demand that Islamic curricula be purged of materials that undermine and disrespect the teachings of the Prophet means that there will be a lot of work to be done in schools throughout the Muslim world that teach Wahhabi doctrines. 

We follow with two articles by our colleague Rabbi Ron Kronish in Israel. The first describes the long-standing, if unpublicized, efforts of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Israel and Palestine, to build spiritual and social alliances through continual dialogue. The second is a very encouraging report on an Israeli Abrahamic team invited to Ashdod in southern Israel where community members are hungry for alternatives to the fear and loathing they get political circles and the media.

Finally, a bit of sweet news from the greater Washington, DC area where the Baltimore-based Institute for Christian Jewish Studies expanded its name to the Institute for Islamic.Christian.Jewish Studies. With this, the ICJS joined the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts which took the plunge some eight years ago after focusing on Jewish-Christian relations exclusively for some eleven years. AFR is very much involved with Merrimack. 

Joseph V. Montville
Chairman of the Board
TRACK TWO: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy

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