Spread Hummus, Not Hate

By Donovan Govan. [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

We refuse to be enemies: Muslims and Jews unite for event to feed the homeless.

Under the umbrella of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, Muslims Against Hunger and The Brotherhood Synagogue come together as part of the 8th Annual Global Season of Twinning, which promotes interfaith events, in New York City.

Both Muslims and Jews are scheduled to assemble at the synagogue and prepare food packages for distribution to the city's homeless and hungry population before hearing Imam Shamsi Ali and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna speak at the venue. Daisy Khan of the Women's Islamic Initiative for Spirituality and Equality is also slated to be one of the speakers. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has also been invited to the event, the theme for which is “We Refuse to be Enemies.”

This is not something that was organized in haste after the November 13 terror attacks on Paris, carried out by ISIS; rather it’s a campaign that had already been planned for some time. On November 5 at an event in Washington, D.C., both Jewish and Muslim volunteers jointly participated in a campaign labeled “Spread Hummus, Not Hate.” Although it is known that hummus originated in Palestine, both Jews and Muslims lay claim to it and their love for the chickpea-based dish is something that binds them together despite decades of conflict.

The attacks have polarized Muslims worldwide, many seeing them with distrust and fear. Following the dastardly attacks on Friday, one of the volunteers associated with Muslims Against Hunger was asked by a homeless man on Saturday whether she had poisoned the hummus sandwiches that were being handed out. Jews know this feeling only all too well, they experienced the same during the Holocaust.

Dozens of such events are taking place across the globe during the “Season of Twinning,” which runs till January 2016. They promote greater understanding and mutual respect, as Zamir Hasan, who started the Muslims Against Hunger movement, found out from experience. He grew up in Pakistan and held a negative opinion of the Jewish community before even actually meeting a Jew in real life.

Only after encountering them in person did he realize that Judaism and Islam share a lot of common ground – both religions, for instance, lay emphasis on community service, called tikkun olam by Jews and islah by Muslims. Walter Ruby of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a Jew, expresses his solidarity with the Muslims, saying that it is disturbing to hear voices that call for shutting down of mosques in the country.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter