Dr. Charles Jacobs stands for everything that those who believe radical Islam can be reformed claim to desire. Jacobs calls for peace – real peace – between Muslims and Jews. He backs up his words with actions, by reaching out to moderate Muslims and doing all he can to create the safe haven they need to take, in their view, their religion back from the fundamentalists. Yet, Jacobs is no starry-eyed dreamer. He doesn’t hesitate to call out the Islamic radicals living among us, or to take their naïve, unwitting supporters to task. Jacobs has a penchant for pointing out that anything that walks and talks like a duck ready to strap a load of C-4 to its back probably is, and that’s what got him into trouble with a group of Boston rabbis earlier this month.
Jacobs is a man of remarkable accomplishment. He is founder of The David Project, co-founder of the American Anti-Slavery Group and of Americans For Peace and Tolerance. In recognition of his efforts to end the enslavement of black Africans in Sudan, Jacobs was presented with the Boston Freedom Award by Coretta Scott King and the Mayor of Boston. Jacobs serves on the board of directors of Americans For Peace and Tolerance with Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Mansour. According to their website: “Dr. Mansour is an Al Azhar-educated reformist Islamic scholar who fled his native Egypt after persecution by radical Islamists and imprisonment by Egyptian authorities. He is the spiritual leader of a reformist movement of Islam called the Quranists.”
So what did this peace-loving man of action do to annoy seventy Beantown rabbis to the point that they felt moved to publish an angry letter condemning Jacobs in The Jewish Advocate on June 11? What could a fellow who works so hard to find and nurture that most elusive of creatures – the moderate Muslim – have done to offend the leaders of so many congregations? What made seventy rabbis sign on to a letter that had this to say about Jabobs:
“We were shocked and appalled by the vicious, personal attack written by Charles Jacobs and printed in The Jewish Advocate. We denounce this attack and call upon Mr. Jacobs to discontinue his destructive campaign against Boston’s Muslim community, which is based on innuendo, half-truths and unproven conspiracy theories. We call upon members of our community to reject the dangerous politics of division that Mr. Jacobs fosters.”
Jacobs “vicious, personal attack” consisted of an article he penned for The Jewish Advocate in which he was critical of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and, more importantly for the shocked and appalled rabbis of Boston, of Rabbi Eric Gurvis, Senior Rabbi of Temple Shalom in Newton, Massachusetts. Both Patrick and Gurvis visited Roxbury’s “mega-mosque” on May 22, exchanging hugs and mutual admiration with the mosque’s leaders and, in Patrick’s case, accepting a $50,000 check from the mosque so that law-enforcement officials in the Bay State could learn to be more culturally sensitive when dealing with Muslims.
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