In this op-ed for the Jewish publication “The Forward,” Rabbi Avi Shafran writes about “the coming together of Orthodox Jews and Muslims in common causes, both in Israel and in the United States.” The rabbi offers concrete examples of Jews supporting Muslim rights, and shows that “differences, even about important things, need not create an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ polarization of populations or parties.”
The Rabbi gives the following examples:
— In Israel, two Orthodox groups (the United Torah Judaism and Shas) are defending the Joint List of Arab in their quest to block a bill that would ban religious institutions from using loudspeakers — an effort to halt the publicly reciting of the call to prayer. The United Torah Judaism and Joint List of Arab both met and after the meeting, Mosche Gafni (of UTJ) concluded that if the Israeli bill were to pass, it would “just [create] anger” and anti-Israel incitement. He also said that the legislation would accomplish nothing, as there is already a law limiting undue noise at night and in the early morning.
— The rabbi cites examples of cooperation between Orthodox Jews and Muslims in the United States. In 2014, seven national Orthodox Jewish groups filed a Supreme Court brief in favor of a Muslim woman’s right to wear a head scarf at her workplace, the clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch. The case ended up before the Supreme Court, which found in the woman’s favor.
Agudath Israel of America, for which the rabbi works, has filed amicus briefs in a number of cases involving Muslim or Christian plaintiffs. In one, in 2006, a Muslim woman sued the Alamo car rental company for not permitting her to wear a hijab, the traditional head scarf, on the job.