SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — Muslim-Jewish engagement is growing in the United States, with the greatest expansion during the past two years, a new report found.
Even as the political situation in the Middle East continues to heat up, more groups dedicated to Muslim-Jewish education, dialogue and joint social action are being formed, according to the report issued by the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement in Los Angeles, a partnership between Hebrew Union College, Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation and the University of Southern California. The data were collected from two surveys conducted in November 2009.
More than 70 percent of these groups have emerged since 9/11. Of those, half were created in the past 24 months.
Half of the groups have no staff or budget, demonstrating a heavy reliance on volunteerism. Fifty percent of existing groups raise less than $250 a year, according to the report.
The major focus of these Muslim-Jewish initiatives is religious and social dialogue, followed by social action work and participating in each other’s rituals. A minority reported focusing on political dialogue.
Many of the newest groups emerged from the Weekend of Twinning, a two-year-old project of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding that has brought together more than 200 mosques and synagogues for weekends of joint activity. Seventy percent of the mosques and synagogues that took part in the 2009 weekend say they have developed ongoing relationships.
The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement is the only academic think tank and resource center in North America specifically dedicated to Muslim-Jewish relations.