Paramount Vantage co-sponsored a panel discussion and screening of “A Mighty Heart” — the film depicting the kidnapping and death of American Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl — with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Progressive Christians Uniting (PCU), on June 21.

The panel, “Building Unity and Understanding in Today’s World,” included the film’s producer, Dede Gardner; CAIR’s Hussam Ayloush; Jews on First’s Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak; PCU’s the Rev. Peter Laarman; with Lisa Smithline from Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace moderating.

The panelists agreed on the importance of continuing their dialogue with each other’s communities and on reducing the influence from their respective extremists.

Ayloush pointed out that some Muslims feel ashamed when they see co-religionists misuse Islam to justify acts such as those committed against Pearl. But Ayloush says they shouldn’t feel ashamed, since “those criminals were not Pakistanis, not Muslims,” he said. “They were criminals, period.”

Later, Ayloush responded to an audience member’s who asked, “Why should we believe CAIR cares about Pearl?”

“CAIR cares not only about Pearl, but every human being, because that is what Islam teaches us,” Ayloush said. “As someone who has studied at a Christian church and [has] a lot of Jewish friends, this is exactly what Judaism and Christianity teach, too.”


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