Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has issued a dramatic appeal to Muslim extremists, asking them to stop attacking those they feel have insulted their religion.
“Can we stop using God to spill other people’s blood?” Boteach, founder of the Jewish Values Network, said Friday on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.
“It’s an appeal I make to my Muslim brothers and sisters — and I respect Islam, tremendously.”
The video is available here.
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Boteach was reacting to the Sunday bloodbath in Garland, Texas, in which two Islamic State (ISIS)-influenced gunmen opened fire at a contest in which participants drew cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
Such depictions are considered blasphemous and have sparked violence in other countries, most notably France, where gunmen slaughtered staff members of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“I’m a religious man and I’m not into any gratuitous insult to any faith – my Muslim brothers and sisters, Christian brothers and sisters – but let’s not be ridiculous,” said Boteach, known as “America’s rabbi.”
“You don’t die because you insult a religion, you should not be the target of assassination. That should be where our principle condemnation lies.”
Pamela Geller, who sponsored the Texas event, has been criticized by some for intentionally provoking Muslims, although others have defended her right to free speech.
“We can have a conversation with Ms. Geller and ask her whether these events, very provocative as they are, are helpful [or] are they designed to insult?” Boteach said.
“Because as a rabbi I would tell you, why would you do that? There’s no reason to gratuitously insult anyone’s faith. I want to see more faith in the world.
“But I don’t want to see religious extremism that leads to violence, murder, and death, and the idea that people should die from drawing cartoons is the highest abomination.”