Letters: More that unites Jews and Muslims than divides us

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Originally Published: The Press-Enterprise

08/02/2018

Re: “Riverside imam accused of anti-Semitic sermon that called Jews ‘tyrants’” [News, Aug. 1]: As an Ahmadi Muslim, I was dismayed to learn of the anti-Semitic remarks made by a local Imam at a Riverside mosque.

Such divisive language is toxic to our social climate today and we need to build bridges, rather than burn them, to make our nation better for our children.

Jews and Muslims share a common origin and our differences pale in comparison to what makes us similar. And Islam promotes interfaith peace. It says so in the Quran.

There are verses which critics of Islam say are anti-Jewish, but this is simply not true because they are not taken in proper context. Where the rights of Muslims were threatened or usurped by Jews, those unjust behaviors are condemned. But the Quran also contains verses which promise paradise for Jews. The Prophet Moses is mentioned more than any other prophet in the Quran. Jews sought counsel in the Holy Prophet Muhammad and history shows that Jews flourished under Muslim rule and were protected.

The Quran even commands Muslims to protect synagogues from those who seek to destroy them, because they are places where God is worshiped. Once, when a Jewish funeral procession passed by, the Prophet Muhammad stood up out of respect.

As a reflection of these teachings, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community locally in Southern California always seeks to build bridges with our Jewish friends. They have graciously accepted our invitation numerous times to speak at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, and recently broke bread with us during the holy month of Ramadhan at an interfaith iftar dinner. I was welcomed like a brother at an interfaith service at Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach recently. Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Philadelphia repaired damaged headstones at a desecrated Jewish cemetery.

As a Muslim physician, I work with a Jewish physician colleague every day, and have done so for 12 years. We have learned about one another’s faith and this has created a bond and friendship. I would like to think our children will grow up in a similar environment. That is what both Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Moses would have wanted.

— Ahsan M. Khan M.D., president, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Los Angeles East Chapter, Chino

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