Tuesday, August 01, 2006

How the Middle East Crisis Challenges Interfaith Relations in the US

This question has been in the forefront of my mind for over three weeks now. However, I am going to write about it only in bits and pieces -- as those who write blogs usually do!


An act of hate brings faiths together: from the Seattle Times:

A gunman's attack on the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle targeted the followers of one religion, but the pain has been felt by all faiths.

Jew and Muslim and Christian — they all gathered Monday at Bellevue's Temple B'nai Torah for the funeral of Pamela Waechter, 58, killed by a man who barged into the federation's Seattle office Friday and randomly opened fire after spewing invectives against Jews and Israel…

Picture: Mourners at Pam Waechter's funeral

Last week we were grief-stricken when an attack on the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle by a Pakistani Muslim man killed a woman and injured five others. Apart from the sadness at that tragedy, I feared for that interfaith relations so painstakingly built in Seattle would suffer a great set back. However, swift condemnations of the incident by Islamic organizations and clear-headed statements by Jewish organizations that were careful to pin blame only on the individual, diffused what could have been a volatile situation.

Today, also, the gunman’s family – of Pakistani Muslim immigrants issued a statement expressing their sorrow and saying that Naveed Afzal Haq (30) was Bi-Polar – and that this terrible act should not be seen as an act against a community, but of one mentally unstable individual.


ABC Pulls Gibson's Holocaust Mini-Series: From Reuters

The ABC television network has pulled a miniseries about the Holocaust it was developing with Mel Gibson's production company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, quoting an unidentified representative for the network.
Gibson was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving early on Friday and was reported to have launched into a tirade against Jews, asking the arresting officer if he was a Jew and blaming the Jews for starting all wars.
The actor, who holds strong conservative Catholic religious and political views and whose father is a Holocaust denier, apologized on Saturday.

Mel Gibson's anti-Jewish remarks must be roundly condemned. Over the weekend, it seemed that Hollywood take the Gibson tirade without much fuss, I am glad to see the ABC decision this morning. I came to know of Gibson's anti-semitic tendency in 2004, when he produced and directed "The Passion of the Christ," a pornographically violent movie that depicts Jews in a way that is contrary to the Christian scripture. His drunken tirade does not surprise me but it saddens me to see it on such public display and that there has not been more a vigorous condemnation.


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