Marc Schneier & Shamsi Ali – Sons of Abraham

sons of abrahamSons of Abraham brings a tough and honest interfaith dialogue between two representatives of Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Islam. Rabbi Marc Schneier, the eighteenth generation of a distinguished rabbinical dynasty and Imam Shamsi Ali, raised in a small Indonesian village, but after studies in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, work and several positions as imam eventually landed in the US as well as Schneier, took the challenge. They met in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In the book both men write alternating chapters, first about their background, current role and the way they met each other in the post 9/11 world. Both value their heritage, their core beliefs and holy books and traditions, but are also open for dialogue and digging into sensitive topics. So, by no means superficial, the material goes deep into splitting the actual sources / teachings and the way it is interpreted or acted in nowadays world regarding being religious, ‘The Chosen  People‘ or ‘Best in breed’, voluntary or compulsive conversion to a particular religion, jihad, loving your neighbor or stranger, Shari’a and positions on Israel, Palestinians and a single or two-nations solutions for Palestine, Jerusalem (and access to religious sites).  By reaching a fuller understanding of one another’s faith traditions, Jews and Muslims can discover that there are many similarities or common grounds, rather than huge gaps that cannot be bridges at all (except for launching missiles or raging wars).  Striving for justice, kindness, service to the community, both within and outside your community of fellow believers, could really make a difference. Schneier and Ali are strong defenders of this common approach, though many of their brothers and sisters don’t agree (yet). Samuel G. Friedman provided a foreword, an introduction is given by former US president Bill Clinton.

About the authors

Marc Schneier (born January 26, 1959) is an American rabbi, and founder and president of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and the founding rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, New York and the New York Synagogue in Manhattan. Schneier is a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress and past president of the North American Board of Rabbis and the New York Board of Rabbis, as well as serving on the boards and executive committees of numerous organizations. He is the son of Rabbi Arthur Schneier, founder of the NGO, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.

Imam Shamsi Ali is a renowned Muslim Scholar and a well known Imam in New York City, USA. He was an Imam of the city’s largest mosque located in 96th street and 3rd AV Manhattan. He is Chairman of the Al-Hikmah Mosque in Astoria and the Director of Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens.

Imam Ali serves as an Advisory Board member to numerous interfaith organizations, including the Tanenbaum Center and Federation for Middle East Peace. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Asean Muslim Federation of North America. Imam Ali also is a Board member for the Partnership of Faith in NY, and co-founder of the UNCC (Universal Clergy Coalition-International). Furthermore, he is also Assistant Director and a Board member of the Muslim Foundation of America, Inc., and Chairman of the annual Muslim Day Parade in NYC. He also serves as the Vice President of the Asian-American Coalition USA (AAC-USA) and its UN Representative.