Muslims and Jews twinning program: "We refuse to be enemies"

Groups of Jews and Muslims around the world are kicking off their annual anti-bigotry season.

Contact Editor
Hillel Fendel, | updated: 19:44

Illustrative: Jew and Muslim
Illustrative: Jew and Muslim
Flash 90

We Refuse to be Enemies is the theme of the 8th Annual Season of Twinning. This is a project that brings together people of all faiths – mainly Muslims and Jews - in focused on educating communities about one other, working together on behalf of people in need, and standing together against bigotry.

The organizers say this year's events are being held "in the face of escalating sectarian violence and increasing expressions of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry across North America, Europe and around the world."

The Season of Twinning officially kicked-off yesterday, November 1, with an Interfaith rally in Trenton, New Jersey. It is to be followed by events in Washington, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Brussels, Tel Aviv, Rabat (Morocco), and many other cities in nearly 20 countries around the world.  

The Season of Twinning was initiated in 2008 by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) - a New York-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building a global movement of Muslims and Jews focused on strengthening ties between our communities.

"In the face of multiple crises now roiling Muslims and Jews in the Middle East and around the world and of increasing efforts by demagogues and extremists to incite our communities against each other, it is more critical than ever that Muslims and Jews come out in public to say 'We Refuse to Be Enemies,'" said the president of FFEU.

Notable activities scheduled around the world during the Season of Twinning include an event on Nov. 5 called, "Spread Hummus Not Hate." Twelve Muslim and Jewish activists will travel through Greater Washington, with stops including the University of Maryland, mosques, synagogues and Farragut Square Park, to share the message that "We Refuse to be Enemies" with all the people they meet along the way.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 8, a gathering will be held to advocate dialogue and reconciliation between Israelis and residents of the Palestinian Authority and between Jews and Arabs in Brazil. In Amsterdam a week later, a Friendship Walk will take place, from the Al-Kabir Mosque to the Gerard Dou Street Synagogue. 

In Detroit on Nov. 19, the Greater Detroit Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee will host a We Refuse to be Enemies event at Wayne State University. Prizes will be awarded to Muslim and Jewish teens who took part in a literary contest focused on reaching out to each other. Even in Malmo, Sweden, where Jews have been frequently attacked by Muslims, Malmo's Muslim-Jewish Partnership will sponsor an event focused on peace and reconciliation on Nov. 22.

More than 20 other events are scheduled as well, in cities including Houston, Montreal, Berlin, Vienna, Krakow, Warsaw, and Wellington, New Zealand.