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Jewish clergy join anti-Islamaphobia event

JTA

September 8, 2011 | 3:51 pm

Smoke pours out of the site of the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. Photo by REUTERS/Brad Rickerby/Files

Smoke pours out of the site of the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. Photo by REUTERS/Brad Rickerby/Files

Top Jewish clergy joined a religious gathering to combat Islamaphobia as the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks nears.

“Ten years after 9/11, it has somehow become respectable to verbally attack Muslims and Islam in America,” Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the president of the Union of Reform Judaism, said Thursday at the Washington event organized by Shoulder to Shoulder, a group founded a year ago during a period of intensified anti-Muslim rhetoric.

“There are very real consequences when entire populations are represented in the public imagination by their worst elements, when the sins of the few are applied to the group as a whole. I have watched in astonishment as prominent politicians, including candidates for president of the United States, have found it politically opportune to peddle divisive anti-Muslim bigotry.”

Also addressing the event at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church was Steve Gutow, a Reconstructionist rabbi and the president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the public policy umbrella group.

“A great people and a great nation do not let their brothers and sisters suffer from bigotry and persecution,” Gutow said. “Our Muslim brothers and sisters suffer exactly that in all corners of this great country of ours. Today is a day to stand up and say we have had enough.”

Rabbi Burton Visotzky of the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary said Muslims “have always been part of the fabric of America.”

Also attending were Rabbi Marc Schneier, a co-founder of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding; Rabbi Jack Moline, representing the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly; Rabbi Sidney Schwarz, representing the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Faith and the Common Good project, and Rabbi Dr. Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer, representing the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

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