Sunday, December 19, 2010
Sheikh Hamza's Challenge
On November 20, 2010 Sheikh Hamza, Yusuf, one of the foremost Muslim leaders in the United States spoke to an audience of over a 1000 Muslims and Non-Muslims at a CAIR dinner in Sacramento In his speech he urged the Muslim community to purge itself of anti-Jewish sentiment in its Mosques and its homes. Sheikh Hamza, one of the founders of Zaytuna College, the first Muslim University in the United States does not speak as an enthusiastic supporter of the policies of the State of Israel. He is not. He does not speak as a “moderate” Muslim. He is an enthusiastic Muslim. He speaks as one whose understanding of the normative textual traditions of Islam lead him to the inevitable conclusion that the Quran leaves no room for the baseless hatred of an entire group of people. With these words “Among the followers of Moses there are those who guide in accordance with the truth, and the truth renders them righteous,” the Quran [7:159] calls on Muslims to avoid seeing Jews as a communal mass but as free-willed individuals capable of both righteousness and unrighteousness. When I heard of Sheikh Hamza’s words, I heard not only a challenge to America’s Muslims but a challenge to its Jews. Are we too prepared to purge ourselves of Anti-Muslim sentiment in our synagogues, in the boardrooms of institutions, in the classes of our schools and in our homes? I believe that peace and the perfection of this world may well depend on our conferring dignity on one another as servants of the One true G-d. Will we rise to the challenge?