Photo: Mikaeel Martinez Jaka/ADAMS
Washington Area Jews and Muslims celebrated the Jewish holiday of Passover at the 10th annual Seder held at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) center and mosque in Sterling on April 16.
“This can show solidarity between Jews and Muslims,” Andrea Barron of the Washington Area Jews for Jewish Muslim Understanding said. “It’s a big statement showing Muslims and Jews respect each other.”
The two groups organized the seder and around 50 people attended, including Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders, activists and community members.
Barron said that while she grew up in Boston, she never experienced anti-Semitism and thought it hardly existed anymore in the U.S. The recent rise of anti-Semitic events in recent years, especially following the presidential election, has shocked her, but what hasn’t shocked her was the outpouring of support by Muslims, she said.
“We feel as Jews that there should be no discrimination based on religion,” Barron said.
Muslims have also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair Jewish cemeteries and have visited synagogues in a show of solidarity, she said.
“Islamically we are told that we will be tested and we will be judged on how we will respond. We must respond to bad with good. We will stay vigilant to uphold civil rights and we will stay optimistic and as people of all faiths we want to see a prosperous, secure, and compassionate America welcoming all people and protecting the most vulnerable,” said Rizwan Jaka, chair of ADAMS’ Board of Trustees.
Representatives from HIAS, the refugee resettlement agency founded over 100 years ago to bring Jewish refugees from Europe, and from Casa de Maryland, the largest immigrant rights agency in the DC metropolitan area, joined the seder too.
Barron met Imam Magid of ADAMS through her work on Israeli and Palestinian peace. She got to know ADAMS’ work and the two groups created the event in 2006, making ADAMS the first mosque to host a seder, Barron said.
Next, Barron would like to work with ADAMS and the Columbia Baptist Church to reach out to political conservatives and host a dialogue about Islam. The seders have been successful, Barron said, and now she’d like to bring in people who may not be inclined to attend such events in order to foster better understanding.