Better Muslim-Jewish ties, but no romance please


A group of rabbis and imams from Europe were in New York and Washington this week, but the Washington Post’s Mary Ann Akers points out that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who recently became engaged to Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, a Muslim, was not invited:

Weiner’s recent engagement to Huma Abedin, a well-known aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton who is also a Muslim, ignited a press frenzy over the interfaith power couple and got the chattering classes of New York and Washington speculating on the wedding ceremony: imam, rabbi, or both?

It undoubtedly will not be Rabbi Marc Schneier officiating, even though Weiner is a semi-regular visitor to Schneier’s synagogues in the Hamptons and Manhattan.

Schneier, an Orthodox rabbi who is president and founder of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, tells The Sleuth he didn’t include Weiner in this week’s Muslim-Jewish forum because "we’re trying to put forth more of an international spiritual/political movement as opposed to creating a whole new wave of Muslims and Jews seeking a… you know… any kind of romantic reconciliation."

Schneier’s definition of spirituality apparently doesn’t include love. He says he has no advice for Weiner and Abedin on how they should tie the knot.

"I’m an Orthodox rabbi. I don’t get involved in any kind of interfaith marriages," he told us during a telephone interview Wednesday. "I’m clearly not the one they should seek guidance from."

Schneier then thought better of that answer a little later, and the group noted that Weiner’s personal relationship didn’t even come up when deciding who to invite:

Adam Muhlendorf, a spokesman for the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, e-mailed us later to say that Weiner’s engagement to Abedin "played absolutely no role" in the group’s decision to invite Jewish members other than Weiner to participate in the Muslim-Jewish discussion. He added that invitations were sent out "months ago," before Weiner’s engagement was announced. (But well after Weiner’s relationship with Abedin was known.)

"We have tremendous respect for Rep. Weiner and look forward to continued warm relations," Muhlendorf said.

Weiner’s office was unaware of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding event on Capitol Hill Wednesday. But Weiner spokeswoman Marie Ternes had no comment on how the congressman felt about being left out.

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