Monday, August 28, 2006

Imam Hendi

And you say Frederick isn't an exciting place?

A couple weeks ago the leader of the Islamic Society of Frederick, Imam Hendi, called for an open dialogue with the Frederick Jewish community regarding hostilities in light of the situation in Israel and Lebanon. He claimed that all parties involved were responsible to come together for discussion; after all, according to him, the religions have much in common. He cites these common grounds as "an emphasis on social justice and the Golden Rule." First of all, I'm skeptikal of Islam in general; but, even if they do subscribe to these principles, is that reason enough to come together for discussion? I'm sure there were plenty in the Nazi party who believed in social justice and the golden rule. Does the alleged common bond oblige us to come together in discusson? I think not. Just because we may share beliefs on certain issues does not mean we share responsibility in the current situation.

In response to the Imam's call for dialogue, Rabbi Kosman (who, for the record, did not know he was being interviewed for the paper) replied, "It's obvious that no truth is going to come out of this", and said that he "[doesn't] want to put him in a public forum." Rabbi Kosman concluded, "This guy, and Islam, they want to kill us. There's nothing new about that for Jews. Now they want to kill Christians, too. You'll find out that Islam is out to get you. I promise you that. And I'm not a pessimist."

Let's just start out by saying that Rabbi Kosman is not an man that incites; he doesn't go around looking for fights. In fact, Rabbi Kosman is probably the most gentle, sweet man you will ever meet in your life. This is the same man that hugged a young man after the man was at fault for hitting the Rabbi's van. So, any comments of these sorts made by Rabbi Kosman are made, not because he is out to get anyone, but because he must feel that this is 100% fact.

While Rabbi K's comments are obvious sharp and to-the-point, I believe they are warranted. Imam Hendi, in his call for dialogue, does not do as much as to condemn Hizbullah for their shelling of Israeli towns or hiding in residential areas. For someone who represents a religion that hasn't exactly had an amazing track-record in recent history in regards to terrorism, there is nothing to discuss without immediate acknoweldgement that the acts of his people are those of terrorist nature. The reality is that if any of these Hizbollah terrorists were to infiltrate America, they would slit your throat (yes, even you Mr. Liberal) in a hot second. You want to talk? You gotta speak out against those thugs first.

As previously noted, I am skeptical of a religion whose members become more hostile as they become more religious. I therefore believe that we must assume that Imam Hendi condones Hizbullah's actions until we hear otherwise. Would I believe him, even if he said he condemns their actions? Probably not. But, at least he'd be giving us a little lip-service. Hendi: until you say that you're opposed to Hizbullah's thuggish actions, you deserve no pleasure of dialogue with Rabbi Kosman.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting take but I think you have it wrong on a couple of levels.

1.) I know Imam Hendi (not well) and actually was on the planning committee of a conference at which he spoke. As things go he is not a bad fellow, but I think he is a big self-promoter. I suspect that the motivation for his public call was not so much to make Islam look good or Judaism look bad as to get himself back in the news as a promoter of love and understanding.

2. Rabbi Kosman has been around a long time. He surely knows (or at least he should) that if he is speaking to a reporter it is for publication unless he specifically lays out otherwise beforehand. Any pulpit rabbi has to know this.

3. It's considered bad form to say "I won't dialogue with you unless you do X or Y beforehand." The purpose of a dialogue is conversation and clarifying each other's perspectives.

4. Rabbi Kosman would have been better served by saying something like "I'd be happy to meet Imam Hendi but in private. I am interested in dialogue, not debate, and given the inflamed atmosphere at the moment a public debate would be counterproductive. But I am happy to meet Imam Hendi at my synagogue or visit him at his mosque."

Unless, of course, I'm wrong.

12:04 PM, August 28, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

1) I do not claim what his motivations for calling out to R' Kosman are.

2) I am not apologizing for R' Kosman, and neither is he himself.

3) I was thinking this when I wrote it. The way I see it is there are certain people worth having dialogue with, and others not. I believe those who do not condemn the actions of Hizbullah are not worth dialogue.

4)Why would R' Kosman say this? Like he said, he has NO interest in meeting with him.

12:15 PM, August 28, 2006

Anonymous BOTS member said...

Is there a large Islamic population in Fredrick?

8:34 AM, August 29, 2006

Anonymous Erica said...


I think if Rabbi Kosman said what he did, he meant it. He probably has no interest meeting with this man because, as he said, nothing will come of it and he doesn't want to waste his time getting into something that will go nowhere. He is a man who loves peace and wouldn't "be happy to meet with Mr. Hendi at his Mosque" for no reason. Of course, I cannot be sure of this but I'll ask Rabbi when I see him.

10:56 AM, August 29, 2006

Anonymous Greg said...

"I am skeptical of a religion whose members become more hostile as they become more religious"

Yes, thank God there are no overzealous, self-righteous Jews who fell the compulsion to take the law into their own hands...

7:57 PM, August 29, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

BOTS - first of all, it's Frederick. Second of all, no. The shul in Frederick has a membership of about 250 families, give or take (I believe).

Erica - Amen sister.

Greg - not sure where you're going with that. Not sure if you're playing the sarcastic card or not...

9:20 PM, August 29, 2006

Blogger Jewboy said...

Not sure if Greg is playing the sarcastic card? It's usually safe to assume he is.

8:56 AM, August 30, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

Well, in that case, there's a difference when it's the exception and when it's the rule.

9:26 AM, August 30, 2006


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