Rabbi Bemporad & Islam

“We must not commit the cardinal error — indeed cardinal sin — of taking one aspect of a religion (often torn from context) and condemning an entire faith community for its errant fanatics. In our zeal to attack the extremes, we should not attack the spiritual truth of the religions themselves.”  – Rabbi Jack Bemporad

W. Deen Mohammed, (Left) now deceased, head of the American Society of Muslims, with Rabbi Jack Bemporad. Imam Mohammed, a progressive thinker, transformed the Nation of Islam, a black separatist movement, into a mainstream Muslim religion.

Although much of the CIU’s work has been focused on Jewish-Christian relations, Rabbi Bemporad’s vast experience working for interreligious understanding with the Catholic Church is now being used as a model for meeting on common ground with Muslim leaders.

On May 18 – 24, 2013, a delegation of the world’s most influential Muslim leaders joined organizers Rabbi Jack Bemporad, Executive Director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding (CIU), Catholic University of America Law Professor Marshall Breger, and Suhail Khan, Senior Fellow, Institute for Global Engagement and former GW Bush liaison to the Muslim community for an historic journey — from Dachau to Auschwitz – to see for themselves one of the great tragedies of the 20th century. Among the participants were Imams, Sheikhs, Islamic educators and leaders from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bosnia, Palestine, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey and India. This pilgrimage resulted in the Muslim leaders issuing an unprecedented statement against Holocaust Denial, condemning anti-Semitism, and pledging to fight the misuse of the Holocaust as a leading propaganda tool to foment anti-Semitism and anti-Western sentiment.

In October 2011, Rabbi Bemporad moderated and co-organized — with Catholic University of America and the Muslim Chaplains’ Association — the symposium ‘Muslim and Jewish Perspectives on the Interpretation of Foundational Religious Texts’ at Temple Emanu-el in New York City that explored the links between Halacha and Shariah.

Rabbi Bemporad continues to lead the battle against anti-Muslim rhetoric and organized Islamophobia by forcefully condemning opposition to the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ and retail boycotts triggered by the premiere of the television series ‘All-American Muslim.’ In addition, he is a vocal supporter of the Fatwa Against Terrorism.

In 2008, Rabbi Bemporad was honored with the first-ever “Peace &  Tolerance Award” by the Interfaith Dialog Center/Peace Islands Institute.

Rabbi Bemporad and Sheik Quadhi

Children of Abraham: Sharing Shariah


Imams visit Auschwitz, Nazi death camp, pray for Holocaust victims (Huffington Post)

Imams pay tribute to Holocaust victims (HuffPost Live)

Muslims reflect on the Holocaust (Washington Post)

When the imams went to Auschwitz (Miami Herald)

Show of good faith: Muslim imams pray at Auschwitz (Al Arabia)

Muslim imams slam Holocaust deniers (On Islam)

Fear Of Islam Violates Our Traditions (Washington Post)

‘All American Muslim’ Celebrates All American Values (Huffington Post)

Ancient Texting: The Urgency of Muslim-Jewish Dialogue (Huffington Post)

From Many, One Nation: The Case Of ‘All American Muslim’ (Huffington Post)

Exploring Links Between Halacha and Shariah (Jewish Daily Forward)

The Context Of Text: Imams And Rabbis Discuss Interpretation (The Jewish Standard)

Interfaith Dialogue Center Awards Honor NJ Notables (Star-Ledger)

Islam: Perceptions Vs. Realities (Interview with Imam Feisal Rauf)