A national pilot program to link Jews and Muslims with sacred books kicked off in Detroit on Thursday with the delivery of 17 Jewish books to one of the city’s leading mosques.

“I hope this idea extends from Detroit across the U.S. and even throughout the world,” Dawud Walid, Michigan director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said as a Jewish delegation from Oakland County delivered the first collection of Jewish books to a local mosque.

The books included translations and commentaries on the Torah, which Christians regard as the first five books of their Bible. Many of the early figures in the Jewish Bible, including Abraham, are considered sacred figures in Islam.

The idea of combating bigotry by sharing sacred texts isn’t new. In 2002, Walid’s Washington, D.C.-based group kicked off a three-year campaign to place Muslim books in nearly 8,000 public libraries across the country.

The effort launched Thursday is designed to bring Jewish books directly into Muslim centers across Michigan and eventually other parts of the United States.

Imam Abdullah El-Amin, head of the Muslim Center of Detroit, said he already had his eye on several books he plans to read as the first borrower in the new Jewish-books section of his mosque’s library.


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