A few more words on the Mosque and Cordoba Initiative community center controversy. One of the major issues for Islam is that there has never been any great Reformation. Christianity went through it with Martin Luther. Judaism has had several reformations. Further American Islam must send it young leaders outside the U.S. for religious training. There aren’t the equivalent of Islamic seminaries here. Although there is a new university that is just getting started that is Islamic and they hope to establish a seminary. This would be a great thing for America and for interfaith dialog. So often Islamic religious leaders, Imams come from other than Western culture. They don’t understand our form of democracy.
That is not to say they can’t. But culturally the Islamic world is very diverse and adding American diversity to its mix will be a good thing I believe. For as much as there is wrong with our country-there is still much good! And American political values have shaped both Judaism and Christianity as much as our religious values have shaped American culture. So to will Islam add its voice to the mix and be influenced by its interaction with Jews and Christians.
Dialog between the three Abrahamic Faiths Judaism, Christianity and Islam is important because we share roots in common even as we have developed differently. That is why I am proud to be the President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis that engages in dialog with both our Christian and Muslim neighbors. It does matter.