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Jewish Theological Seminary Forum on Judaism and Islam Troubling

October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - - According to the Jewish Theological Seminary website, "in partnership with the Islamic Society of North America and Hartford Seminary, will host an innovative roundtable discussion, "Judaism and Islam in America Today: Assimilation and Authenticity." [source,]

The event is scheduled to commence on the evening of October 25. Participants include, among others: Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary in New York and Professor Sherman Jackson an Islamic scholar at the University of Michigan, who has worked closely with American Islamist groups and written extensively on Shari'a, Islamic law.

The panel will be chaired by Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America, a problematic Islamist pressure group.

A few particulars regarding the participants in this apparent Jewish-Muslim love fest.

On July 19, Ms. Jones posted an article to the HuffPost stating that she had sent Bibles to Fox talker Glenn Beck, suggesting that he was theologically ignorant after one of his segments decried the New Age Christian social justice movement.

"..our students are collecting Bibles from across the nation, packing them in boxes, and sending them to your offices... we've marked a few of the social justice passages, just in case you can't find them."

She also seemed quite proud that the Theological Seminary was the home of black liberation theology, notorious for its close association with Obama's former spiritual advisor Rev. [Goddamn America] Wright.

"Serene Jones here. I'm President of Union Theological Seminary in New York, home of James Cone, the scholar featured on your liberation theology program this week...Your show has clearly stirred renewed interest in liberation theology and in the work of our esteemed faculty." [source, HuffPost]

Judged by this commentary Ms. Jones' interpretation of Christian theology seems out of step with Christian orthodoxy unless one is willing to accept upon declaration that Jesus was a closet socialist. By her inclusion, JTS program participants will be denied an authentic Christian perspective.

Professor Jackson's inclusion on the panel is instructive, in that he is clearly an apologist for Shari'a, having stated in a HuffPost item:

"Most Americans share the perspective of Pope Benedict XVI. While some of this is based on simple prejudice and the massive amount of disinformation being spread about sharÓ'ah, I suspect that most of it is based on the simple fact that people simply view sharÓ'ah through the prism of their own experience as citizens of a modern state. Just as the modern state applies a single rťgime of rules equally across the board to all citizens, so too, they assume, must sharÓ'ah. This, by the way, is not only the assumption of Pope Benedict and most non-Muslim Americans; many Muslims have also imbibed this understanding. But as Pope Shanoudah's and the Coptic Church's tactic demonstrates, this is more indebted to Western success at universalizing its narrative than it is to the intrinsic nature of sharÓ'ah itself. Bottom line? SharÓ'ah accommodated the existence and lifestyles of Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians and countless others. It can live with a few bars and miniskirts and lots of Jacobs in modern America -- multiracial, multicultural, multireligious modern America." [source,]

To make this type of claim, Professor Jackson is required to ignore the body of evidence that proves the incompatibility of Shari'a with the concept of Western republican democracy. If one looks to the real world for examples in which a fully comprehensive form of Shari'a freely accommodates Judaism and Christianity, it will be a very long and unproductive search.

In a piece, Muslims, Islamic Law and Public Policy in the United States, Mr. Jackson essentially states that Islam and Western democracies are incompatible and that it is the job of observant Muslims to push this society in the direction of Shari'a, to the degree where it seems he wishes to see Islam's harsh judicial punishments recognized and instituted at some point, that opposition to such tenth century practices such as cutting off limbs is a symbol of repressive Western relativism:

"...The second thing to keep in mind is that notions of what is cruel and unusual, of what is barbaric, of what is barbaric, of what is draconian (which is the real basis upon which America rejects these punishments) are a function of culture, not law. It is only through changes in American culture that American attitudes towards such things are likely to change. Thus, in the end, as in the beginning, we are brought face to face with the inextricable connection between American culture and Muslim self-determination. May God grant us the courage and the vision to rise to the task before us..." [source,]

That he does this invoking the spirit of Italian communist theorist Antonio Gramsci, merely sharpens the perception as to the professor's confrontational perspective:

"...Gramsci's theory goes a long way in establishing the fact that he attitudes and assumptions, the stereotypes and habits of deferential or contemptuous treatment, which form the basis of how people see themselves and interact with others in society are far more the product of how effectively ideas and images are manipulated through cultural and educational institutions then they are the product of pure politics or economics..."

A May 22 Campus Watch posting [see,] regarding Sherman reads, "...In the chapter, "Muslims, Islamic Law and Public Policy in the United States," Jackson cites the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci's influential theories about altering societies not through politics, but through cultural and educational institutions. Jackson proposes that American Muslims approach the "difficult task of penetrating, appropriating and redirecting American culture" in order to "influence the legal order in America." As he puts it:

Öit should be understood that once this is done, there are no Constitutional impediments to having these laws applied in the public domain. Muslims must be vocal and confident in articulating the public utility underlying the rules on things like riba [usury], adultery, theft, drinking, contracts, pre-marital sex, child-custody and even polygyny [sic]. This should all be done, however, in the context of an open acceptance of American custom (urf) as a legally valid source in areas where the shari'ah admits the reliance upon custom."

The bottom line here is that the students at the Jewish Theological Seminary are being done a tremendous disservice by being subjected to a panel discussion of this ilk. This is not a conversation, nor is it educative in the traditional sense. It's simply a venue in which to spread the radical propagandistic views of the participants; the presence of Ms. Mattson merely providing punctuation for drawing such a conclusion.

It is difficult to see how this manner of convocation can serve anything except continued misunderstanding, social strife and dhimmitude.

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This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at