The construction of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, which includes the Boston mosque, has finally gotten over the big hurdles of media and community court suits. Everybody celebrated the symbolic capping of the minaret recently. Although I noticed the cap was technically offset from the center of the minaret, the support of a particular jewish group more than made up for that architectural offset. Here's an excerpt from their call for action in support of the ISBCC.
You shall not oppress the stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Mitzrayim. —Exodus 23:9
We gather as members of the Boston Jewish community from across the religious and political spectrum because our shared tradition teaches us that it is our obligation to stand side-by-side with those who are marginalized and oppressed. Today, that means standing with the Islamic Society of Boston. In the fear-mongering and Islamophobia they face, we hear all-too-familiar echoes of the anti-Semitism so many of our families confronted in the recent past.
Our tradition values tikkun olam – the healing and repair of the world. We choose to start in our own backyard, by working to close the current divide between the Jewish and Muslim communities in Greater Boston. Supporting the ISB's right to worship freely in their own mosque and community center is but one step towards creating a lasting, positive relationship that will benefit all of us.
Most Jews in our community support the right of Boston-area Muslims to practice their religion and celebrate their culture, but these voices have so far gone unheard. We must uphold our traditional commitment to social justice and support the Islamic Society of Boston as they struggle to build a house of worship and community center in Roxbury. We hope others from all faith backgrounds will raise their voices and join us.
“May the honor of your fellow human being be as dear to you as your own.” How does one do this? This teaches that one should see the honor of one’s fellow human being in the same way that one sees one’s own honor; just as no wants a bad reputation, so too should one not want to give another person a bad reputation. —Avot d’Rabbi Natan 1:15