LETTERS: Islamic Law and Judaism

Re “Behind an Anti-Shariah Push” (front page, July 31):

How ironic that David Yerushalmi, a Hasidic Jew and a political force behind a nationwide campaign against Shariah, or Islamic law, seems oblivious to the profound Islamic influence upon his own Jewish religious traditions.

This is no more evident than in the life and works of Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), the great Jewish thinker, who lived in Muslim lands and wrote most of his books in Arabic. In his Mishneh Torah , his influential code of halacha, the Jewish version of Shariah, as well as in his philosophical masterpiece “Guide for the Perplexed,” Maimonides cites numerous Muslim thinkers, and all his works clearly mirror the then-prevailing religious and intellectual trends in the Islamic world.

Mr. Yerushalmi’s obvious prejudice against Muslims and Islam is a betrayal of Jewish history.

New York, July 31, 2011

The writer is the director of the documentary film “Out of Cordoba: Averroes and Maimonides in Their Time and Ours.”

To the Editor:

I wonder what David Yerushalmi, a Jew, would do if he got his ban on Shariah and somebody else wanted to ban halacha (Jewish law)? What would he do when somebody wanted to ban circumcision or slaughtering animals according to Jewish dietary laws?

To win his self-invented war with Shariah, he will have to shred all of the protections that keep things like this from happening. Mr. Yerushalmi’s misguided campaign divides our society while it diverts our attention from the real fight with terrorists.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, July 31, 2011

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