Shalom Rabbi,

The cold-blooded murder of the rabbi and his wife in Mumbai is a disgrace. As a Muslim, I am ashamed of such actions done by ignorant idiots in the name of Islam. I challenge any and all of them to show evidence from the Quran or the Prophet’s teaching supporting these actions.

The Muslim nations and Muslim authorities should have an international debate in an open forum to condemn such baseless, barbaric actions.

My heart and sympathy to the Jewish people and the families of the victims.

Ahmed ———

Salam Ahmed,

Thank G‑d, you are not the only Muslim who has written to us expressing such sentiments. Many wrote of their indignation, their frustration, and their sincere belief that this is not the way things are supposed to be; that this is a crime against Islam and the Quran, against the dignity of all humankind, and against G‑d Himself.

After all, we Jews and Muslims are brothers, children of one father, Abraham, who taught the world that there is a single G‑d on High, a G‑d who cares for all the creatures He has made and pleads with us to care for them as well. We share a common vision of a world filled with knowledge of the divine, of peace between all men and of heaven upon earth. There was a golden age of Islam, centuries past, when Muslim and Jew worked together, arm in arm, sharing knowledge and poetry, wisdom and science, and perhaps even came close to realizing that vision. We can make that happen again.

Some say that this scourge of terrorism, this cult of death that runs rampant in the world of Islam today, will be eradicated only in the end of days. I believe that it can be eradicated today. The first step is for those true Muslims who recognize its pathos to stand up with courage and protest as you have done. Yet this is not enough. The real key to peace lies in what we teach in our schools.

I have in my possession a rare document, an autobiography of one brave man who fought in the underground German resistance. In the years before the war, as the brownshirts enlisted boys off the street to join the Hitler Youth, this young man gathered—from the very same neighborhoods—other boys to his club. In an abandoned train car, he taught them songs of world brotherhood and peace, spoke of humanitarian values, and inculcated them with a love for human dignity. After only six months, the club was disbanded by the SS.

What happened to those boys? As they grew older, the author kept in correspondence with them. One fought bravely in the underground resistance, sabotaging war efforts. Another was drafted, court-martialed and shot for refusing to shoot at civilians. Each one whom the author could trace kept true to the education he had given them in those six short months. And these were the same boys who could otherwise have become brutal guards at Auschwitz.

Which tells me many things: For one, that there are none more powerful in any society than those who teach the youth. For another, that no one is condemned to become a Nazi or a terrorist; any human being can be taught to be a martyr for goodness and justice.

Ahmed, we believe in you, we trust you, and we know we can do this together. Let us teach our children to respect and love one another, so that all may share in the world to come. Let us make our father Abraham proud, as Ishmael and Isaac walk together to fulfill his dream upon this earth. And let it be very soon, Amen.