More alike than anyone thought - Opinion

More alike than anyone thought

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 10:04 am

American Jews, like the rest of the country, began to focus on the existence of Muslim-Americans after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In that frenzied atmosphere, Muslim-Americans made handy scapegoats for the foreign-birthed terror plot. The hasty moves designed to protect the country from an unseen enemy made dark-skinned Americans targets of suspicion, especially at airports. At the same time, President George W. Bush made the correct call in instructing the country that “the enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends.”

Fifteen years later, a renewed rise of xenophobia has galvanized many in the Jewish community to push back against threats to Muslims just for being Muslim. Sensitive Jewish antennae reacted to the travel ban and a reported White House plan to track American Muslims. The response of some Jews was to go to airports to welcome Muslim travelers, and for some synagogues to pair with Muslim and sometimes Christian congregations to say, “Yes, we’re different in some ways, but similar in our Americanness and our humanity.”

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