Amid Jerusalem violence, initative to bring Jews, Muslims together launched

The Mukhayriq Initiative, named after the Medina-born rabbi who fought alongside Islamic prophet Muhammad, aims to bring Jewish-Muslim cooperation to the fore.

 People gather around the Dome of the Rock, in the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City October 28, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
People gather around the Dome of the Rock, in the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City October 28, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

Jewish and Muslim community leaders from across the globe started a new initiative ahead of Ramadan to strengthen Jewish-Muslim relations, shortly before the violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian rioters in Jerusalem's holy sites intensified and religious tensions rose.

The Mukhayriq Initiative, named after the Medina-born rabbi who fought alongside Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Battle of Uhud in 625 CE, aims to bring Jewish-Muslim cooperation to the fore.

At the initiative's opening event, held on the eve of Ramadan, Muslim and Jewish leaders spoke on the importance of strengthening relations between Jewish and Muslim communities all over the world. 

Among those who spoke at the event were former Albanian labor and social affairs minister Valentina Leskaj and Prof. Ephraim Isaac, the director of Princeton University’s Institute for Semitic Studies.

The initiative was founded by former US deputy special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism Ellie Cohanim, co-founder of the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) Anila Ali, executive-producer of the American Sephardi Federation Jason Guberman, Mimouna Association president El Mehdi Boudra, Jewish Council of the Emirates senior rabbi Elie Abadi and other Muslim and Jewish figures.

PEOPLE HOLD up peace signs. But who wants peace more – Israel or the Palestinians? (credit: REUTERS)PEOPLE HOLD up peace signs. But who wants peace more – Israel or the Palestinians? (credit: REUTERS)

"Some extremist leaders argue that Muslims and Jews are enemies, this is dangerous rhetoric that demonizes, divides, and incites violence," said Anila Alii. "After recent attacks against synagogues, Jewish institutions and Jews, the responsible mainstream can be silent no longer."

Elli Cohanim said that the Mukhayriq Initiative was established to "celebrate what unites us and to stand against hate."

"We will no longer silently tolerate incitement under the guise of political differences, or the celebration of hateful extremists as supposed civil rights heroes," the former US deputy special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism added. "Mainstream Muslims and Jews know that a new era of peaceful coexistence can be ours if we stand up to extremism and stand up for our shared values."

As part of the initiative, Cohanim launched the Mukhayriq accelerator program, inviting Jews and Muslims to submit projects that feature Jewish-Muslim cooperation.

The winning entrants of the program will win a portion of a $50,000 seed funding and participate in a six-month program featuring mentorship and networking opportunities, working with the Mukhayriq Initiative’s professional staff, board members and advisors.