On Tuesday, July 7, Sabeeha Rehman and Walter Ruby shared the wonderful story of their upcoming book, “We Refuse to be Enemies”, about how the paths of a Muslim woman and a Jewish man crossed and led to a joint endeavour for a meaningful purpose.
Sabeeha Rehman and Walter Ruby, a Muslim-American woman of Pakistani origin and a Jewish-American man who spent his formative years in Israel, will share their story of how they connected and embarked on a mission to bring their respective communities together in their common homeland, America.
Growing up in Pakistan, Sabeeha never met a Jew, her view colored by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In his youth, Walter never met a Muslim, his opinion shaped by Leon Uris’s Exodus. What changed their perceptions? How did they fare in nurturing Muslim-Jewish communication and cooperation? Sabeeha and Walter will share their experiences of facing pushback from their communities, overcoming obstacles and bringing together Muslims and Jews to explore unexpected commonalities between their faiths; to work together to help people in need and stand together against bigotry. Finally, they will offer their vision for reconciliation.
Sabeeha and Walter have co-authored a book, We Refuse to be Enemies. How Muslims and Jews can make Peace, One Friendship at a Time, due for publication in Spring 2021. It is their hope that this book will inspire people of all faiths and ethnicities to reach out to each other and heal our nation.
Speakers of the Event
SABEEHA REHMAN is the author of the 2016 memoir, “Threading My Prayer Rug. One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim,” Short-Listed for the 2018 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, the book also received several other nominations and awards. She is also an op-ed contributor to the Wall Street Journal and New York Daily News. In the early 1980s, concerned about raising her sons as Muslims in the absence of a Muslim community, she set to work, and her commitment culminated in the building of a mosque on Staten Island where her family lived. Sabeeha, who holds a Masters in Healthcare Administration, served as a hospital executive for 25 years. Thereafter, responding to her grandson’s autism diagnosis, she co-founded the NY Chapter of the National Autism Association and served as its President from 2008-11. As a public speaker, she has spent several decades engaging in interfaith dialogue and now serves as a board member of the Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee as well as the NY Chapter of the National Autism Association. She blogs on topics related to American Muslim experience at www.sabeeharehman.com/blog. She lives in New York City with her husband Khalid, a retired Hematologist/Oncologist.
WALTER RUBY is a veteran activist in Muslim-Jewish relations. From 2008-2017, in the position of Muslim-Jewish Relations Director at the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, he organized hundreds of twinning events; bringing together thousands of Jews and Muslims in over 30 countries on five continents, including members of mosques and synagogues and Muslim and Jewish organizations. Ruby presently serves as executive director of Jews, Muslims and Allies Acting Together (JAMAAT), a grassroots community of Muslim, Jewish and Interfaith activists in Greater Washington; and as Coordinator of the Washington Area Chapter of Project Rozana, which works to strengthen ties between Israelis and Palestinians through health care. Ruby is currently co-authoring a book with Muslim-American author Sabeeha Rehman entitled We Refuse To Be Enemies: How Muslims and Jews Can Make Peace, One Friendship at a Time. Ruby has worked as a reporter and commentator for more than 40 years, mainly for American Jewish and Israeli publications. His articles and op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and other media. Walter lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Tatayna.