An American rabbi and an imam who co-authored a work on religious tolerance will present copies of their book to President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah today in an effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians together.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, the president of the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and Imam Shamsi Ali of the Jamaica Muslim Center, which is billed as the the city’s largest Islamic center, wrote the book Sons of Abraham: A Candid Conversation about the Issues That Divide and Unite Jews and Muslims in an effort to combat what the pair sees as the chasm of distrust separating the two communities.

The American Muslim community, Schneier told The Jerusalem Post, is currently facing serious discrimination and is widely viewed with suspicion. Meanwhile, Ali said, his constituents have worked hard to overcome their own reservations about Jews due to the biblical claim of chosenness.

It is important for the Muslim community to learn about the history of the Jews, especially about the period of the Holocaust, Ali said, adding that the Jewish community would benefit from better knowledge of their Islamic contemporaries.

For a Jewish community with strong connections to Israel, he said, it is important to understand that the majority of Muslims around the world are not Arabs.

Explaining their presentation of Sons of Abraham to both Israeli and Palestinian officials, the pair stated that they hoped that greater understanding of their neighbors’ faith would facilitate the creation of a lasting peace.

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