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    Visiting Mosques and Making Friends with Muslims

(Links to Dr. Bayakly's lecture are near the end of this page)

We have recently written an article we expect to appear in a publication for Rabbis and synagogue educators.
To see it click here.

Eunice and I regularly encourage our friends and acquaintances to go visit a mosque,
and to make Muslim friends.  We feel that this is interesting and informative to our own beliefs,
and that we cannot afford to treat our neighbors, our American Muslims, as strangers.

Any reader who has questions, or especially if you'd like us to join you on a visit
to a mosque in Memphis, Tennessee, contact us.  (edward@ordman.net)

Our "neighborhood mosque" is the  Masjid As-Salaam; their website is

One of our more interesting experiences there was attending a lecture by our friend Dr. Nabil Bayakly,
 entitled "History of Muslims in America". This lecture, by a Muslim and to a Muslim audience, reminded
me very much of  what went on in my grandparents' synagogues (my paternal grandfather, who arrived
in the US from Lithuania in 1911, was an Orthodox Rabbi).  In those days they were sometimes called
"Americanization lectures", lectures to get immigrants adjusted to their new country. 

Dr. Bayakly, who is an impressive speaker, included some remarks about Muslims living as minorities
 elsewhere (the tale of a Chinese Muslim admiral who sailed to Arabia to visit Mecca, and who some
 claim sailed on to America), early settlers in the US who may have been Muslims, Muslim Africans
brought to the US as slaves, and then later immigrants who went on to form mosques and Muslim
organizations in America.  And he then went on to point out to his audience that this is now their
country, the country they need to care about, the country their children are growing up in, that they
and their children are Americans and need to participate fully in American society.

I found it moving, as a Jew, since it reminded me so much of what my own grandparents
went through when they arrived here a century ago, with their strange accents, languages, and customs.
And I found it moving, as an American, because I am proud of the way so many other immigrant
groups have adopted America as home and Americans have grown to welcome them.  I am enjoying
the opportunity to participate in the process.


History of Muslims in America - The Slides
Dr. Bayakly has been kind enough to allow me to post the slides from his lecture here.  To view
them on line (not the best way, as some of the print is a bit fine and I don't know how to zoom it
on line),  click here.    
To download the slides as a powerpoint presentation (3.2Mbytes),  click here.

Muslims in North America link:    http: //isna.com
The mosque's page:     http://www.memphismuslims.org/ 
A nice book review - of two books on Muslims in America:

For an interesting effort at global Muslim moderation, look at 


for an effort to connect different Muslim groups,
and at the more recent "Amman Interfaith Message" for an effort to reach out to Christians.  It is at


We find that one rather heavy going, but there is a very readable interfaith message at

Eunice has extracted a one page summary of this rather long but very worhwhile document,
which we have used in discussions in Memphis.  for a copy click  here   

For more information about our 2007 trip to Israel and Palestine,  click here

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