Beliefs

‘Spread hummus, not hate’ campaign unites Muslims, Jews

At Farragut Square, just block from the White House, members of the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, a group of Muslims and Jews, speak out against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. Their "Spread Hummus Not Hate" bus tour takes aim at anti-Islam ads that ran on D.C. buses earlier this year and still run on buses in New York City. Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe

WASHINGTON (RNS) A small band of Jews and Muslims marched through one of the city’s busiest squares Tuesday (Oct. 14) shouting “Spread Hummus! Not Hate!” and trying to draw the attention of an otherwise blase group of workers lined up at food trucks.

Sympathizers sign the "Spread Hummus Not Hate" banner on a bus parked at Farragut Square in Washington, D.C. Tuesday (Oct. 16), part of a campaign by the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, a group of Muslims and Jews that formed earlier this year to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The group's one-day bus tour took it to six stops including the University of Maryland, a D.C. mosque and a private home in Virginia. Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe

Sympathizers sign the “Spread Hummus Not Hate” banner on a bus parked at Farragut Square in Washington, D.C. Tuesday (Oct. 14), part of a campaign by the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, a group of Muslims and Jews that formed earlier this year to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The group’s one-day bus tour took it to six stops including the University of Maryland, a D.C. mosque and a private home in Virginia. Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe

Many in the lunchtime crowd kept their earbuds firmly in their ears or continued chatting with their co-workers. But a few people joined in to sing “Salaam, Shalom,” a tune with the words for peace in Arabic and Hebrew, or to pen a comment on the side of the “#SpreadHummusNotHate” bus.

The one-day bus tour began at the University of Maryland, traveled to a mosque in D.C. and ended at a private residence in Virginia. It was designed to counter anti-Islam ads that appeared months ago on D.C. city buses. Similar ads still circulate on New York City buses.

Organized by the newly formed Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, the “#Spreadhummusnothate” bus tour served up pita bread and hummus — a chick pea dip savored by Jews and Muslims alike — at most of its six stops.

“Muslims and Jews have a common moral imperative to better the world,” said Juman Khweis, a Muslim member of the group who took a microphone and stood on a wooden crate labeled “soap box” to deliver her message in Washington’s Farragut Square.

At Farragut Square, just block from the White House, members of the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, a group of Muslims and Jews, speak out against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. Their "Spread Hummus Not Hate" bus tour takes aim at anti-Islam ads that ran on D.C. buses earlier this year and still run on buses in New York City. Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe

At Farragut Square, just block from the White House, members of the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, a group of Muslims and Jews, speak out against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. Their “Spread Hummus Not Hate” bus tour takes aim at anti-Islam ads that ran on D.C. buses earlier this year and still run on buses in New York City. Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe

The ads that inspired the hummus campaign were bought by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group led by Pamela Geller. Those ads, which many Jews and Muslims found offensive, read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

“We must do everything in our power to counter fear and mistrust and must not allow negative feelings to fester between our communities,” said Symi Rom-Rymer, a Jewish member of the group who spoke out in the square.

This was the first public event for the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, created under the auspices of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a national group of Muslims and Jews.

Walter Ruby, Muslim-Jewish program director for the FFEU, said the aim is to teach Muslims and Jews about each other’s faith so they could come to each other’s defense when incidents of anti-Semitism or Islamophobia erupt in greater Washington, D.C.

YS/MG END MARKOE

About the author

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe has been a national reporter for RNS since 2011. Previously she covered government and politics as a daily reporter at the Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia, S.C.)

11 Comments

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  • Thank You for calling attention to this important project.
    These young people are not Atheists – but
    they are thankfully on exactly the correct track!

    “We must do everything in our power to counter fear and mistrust and must not allow negative feelings to fester between our communities,”
    said Symi Rom-Rymer, a Jewish member.

    “Muslims and Jews have a common moral imperative to better the world,” said Juman Khweis, a Muslim.

    Only when we abandon the rules of the invisible dictators
    who commands war and bloodshed
    will any chance for peace arrive.

    These young people are on the right track.
    They do not have to become Atheists – just be rebels against these awful Holy Texts.
    It gives me hope for the future.

    ISLAM SAYS TO OTHERS:
    “The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.” (Surah 3:19)
    “Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it.” (Surah 2:216)
    “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51)

    JUDAISM SAYS TO OTHERS:
    “Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood.” (Jeremiah 48:10)
    “Seize all the non-believers and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight…” (Numbers 25:1-9)

    CHRISTIANITY SAYS TO OTHERS:
    “To those who would not have me as their king, bring them to me and execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! …what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but division.” – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)
    “I will kill her children with death.” – JESUS (Rev:1:22)

    will we

  • “Spread Hummus! Not Hate!”

    But what if I hate hummus? Just saying…

    Anyway, any counter campaign against hate, mistrust and vilification of any group is to be applauded.

  • bigotry = attacking someone for who they are.
    valid argument = attacking a bad idea.

    so your parents taught you that Jews are ugly? Tell me more about what your mother taught you and the pride she must feel to hear you share such ‘facts’.

    Unfortunately, a Jesus-endorsed, immoral Christian tribalism is on display here.
    “I have come only for the sick” – Jesus (Mark 2:17)

    Christians can conclude that any tribe who rejects the cure – must still be sick.

    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    I am beginning to wonder whether if it is even possible for a person to be ‘good’ while following the Christian instructions. They are so well designed to produce hate.

  • David,

    Thank You for showing these kids what they are up against. Religious folks like yourself are bent on armageddon. You can’t wait for wars – but I think the young people are finally getting rid of religion.

    Hopefully more people like you will speak up and show yourselves. You remind us of the religious fanatics who run much of the middle east.

    Like ISIS, Osama bin Laden, David Koresh and other fanatics – you know your religion is being challenged and you don’t like it.
    Religion poisons everything – especially peace.

  • A supertanker full of hummus would not help when dealing with Pamela Geller.

    Of course people who follow her material are as likely to be the people attacking this mosque as Islamic fundamentalists would.

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