As we observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day this weekend, elevating interfaith solidarity is even more important, especially with the recent unparalleled rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia around the world and right here at home. This occasion, dedicated to commemorating the survivors and lives lost during one of the darkest periods in human history, serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of hatred and discrimination.
Amidst the ongoing devastating violence in the Middle East, fostering understanding and unity among diverse religious communities takes on added significance. By embracing interfaith dialogue and collaboration, we can contribute to breaking down barriers and building empathy. This week on The State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rabbi Abby Jacobson and Imam Imad Enchassi join host Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush to discuss recognizing the shared humanity among different religious groups as not only a gesture of solidarity but also a step toward finding common ground in the fight for justice.
Rabbi Abby Jacobson is the rabbi at Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City. She’s the former president and a long-time board member of Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma.
“I refuse to allow us to be pitted against each other, because there is not a daily quota of compassion, because everybody’s children need to be safe, and everybody needs to be happy sleeping in their own beds,” said Rabbi Jacobson. “It is not only possible, but I think mandatory to be pro-Palestinian health, human rights, dignity, sovereignty, and everything else, and at the same time also be pro-Israel. Those two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. And we’re all just talking about what human beings need. We would be having fewer arguments, and there, I believe, would be less anger and hurt if we were not being further divided by a narrative of us versus them, because I don’t think we should have to compete for compassion or news time, because everybody’s children are important.”
Dr. Imad Enchassi is the chairman of Islamic Studies, chaplain, and professor at Oklahoma City University. He serves as Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.
“What gives me hope is the simple fact that throughout conflict and war, there’s this human being, this is a spirit of humanity that is shining upon all of us,” said Imam Enchassi. “When I lose family in Gaza and the local rabbis and the local Jewish community send me condolences and send me a fruit basket and give me condolences, I have hope in humanity. I have hope in humanity when I see different countries coming together to bring humanitarian aid. I have hope in humanity when people are weeping, on one side of the world, for other people on the other side of the world, perhaps they have nothing in common except their humanity. There’s always that human that’s going to shine, and there’s always that human that’s going to prevail. And for that I have hope.”
Hear from Rabbi Jacobson and Imam Enchassi on this and much more in this week’s episode.