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Reported by Li Na Bo Ling Gan
Nearly two hundred Muslim and Jewish residents met yesterday at Temple Sholom in Burlingame, California, where the Jewish community and the Muslim community came together to support each other in the current political environment. They were urged to spread love and not let hatred and isolation win.
Maha Elgenaidi, Executive Director of the Islamic Networks Group (ING), said that in the current political situation, many American Muslims feel anxious due to nearly constant hate speech about their community, noting that Muslims have to unite with the Jewish community which faces the same threat. “We must rely on and support each other so that love is spread in our community,” she said. Elgenaidi admits that even as a US citizen with a passport, there is now concern about traveling after hearing reports that many American Muslim citizens have been detained at airports. “We are living in anxiety and uneasiness. The current of public opinion toward Muslims in the United States is heading in the wrong direction.”
Rabbi Nathaniel Ezray of Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood Hills also spoke at the event. He said that since January, 57 Jewish community centers in 27 states have received bomb threats and that anti-Semitism is on the rise. He was quick to caution that hatred must be allowed inside the hearts of those affected, though, saying, “On the contrary, we do not intend to respond with the same emotions of hate and fear. We hope to be able to love, give our families, friends, neighbors, and even strangers more care and attention, a real understanding of their needs, pain, and struggling in order to provide a response rooted in love.”