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Bridging the Arab-Israeli divide

On Nov. 5, my wife and I attended a rare public dialogue between Jews and Muslims at Columbia's Beth Shalom Congregation between Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, and Rabbi Andrew Busch of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

It is the first in a series of four Tuesday night discussions during November designed to explore the various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict. No reporters attended despite invitations, organizers said.

In response to a question about how his message of personal good will and reconciliation might be spread more effectively, Imam Hendi recalled once being invited to appear on a network television show, but after a 35-minute "screening" interview, the show was canceled. He was told later that the network, which he did not name, wanted an angry, militant Palestinian, not one who advocates for peace and justice. "But we keep trying," he said, to spread the message.

Does The Baltimore Sun no longer cover efforts to create positive dialogue on this most difficult topic? Next Tuesday, international affairs specialists Ralph Nurnberger, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University and a former staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and Harris Tarin, director of the Washington-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, will be the speakers.

Larry Carson, Columbia

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