Boys in the ‘hood
September 24, 2011 Leave a comment
RDBF accidentally got himself double-booked, so he asked me to fill in for him at an interfaith dialogue being held at an old folks home. Originally, this was pitched to me as “A Minister, an Imam, and a Rabbi” (and I had a very hard time not saying “go into a bar…”), and we were to speak on the topic of loving thy neighbor and what that meant, along with general topics on love.
Irfaan, the muslim speaker, was just fabulous – he spoke eloquently and in a passionate manner while not ducking hard questions (for instance, Jihad, terrorism, and women’s rights). The minister was okay.
One of the things which Irfaan said to me was that “Wahabism,” which is the form of Islam currently dominant in Saudi Arabia and in some other places, was a “modern reform” movement. I had never thought of it that way, but it is quite correct – it is about the same age as the Reform movement in Judaism, and I think that the deviations from previously normative practices are of similar magnitude.
When I was talking about “love thy thy neighbor,” I pointed them at the famous Hillel story (what is hateful to you do not do unto others), and how the same word in that verse is in quite prominent place in the Sh’ma.
All in all, the event went well, and I’m glad I had a chance to do it.