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“Moderation in times of extremism is a revolutionary idea. It is a positive, courageous value, as opposed to a defeatist attitude. It is swimming...

“Moderation in times of extremism is a revolutionary idea. It is a positive, courageous value, as opposed to a defeatist attitude. It is swimming against the tide, rather than following the crowd on a path obviously leading to the abyss. We need to create our own vision rather than just copy the vision of others.”
-Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi

In a time when Islam is increasingly identified by violent extremism and hostility towards Christians and Jews, Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi and his colleagues advocate for an Islam that is true to its Koranic foundations, which call for coexistence and cooperation with other religions.

Daoudi took a group of Palestinian students to visit Auschwitz – a courageous assertion against the Holocaust denial rampant in Palestinian society, and an effort toward cultivating empathy. Daoudi paid a harsh price for the peaceful journey: he lost his job at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem as head of the libraries and director of the American Studies Institute, his car was torched, and his life was threatened multiple times.

Nevertheless, with his peace-affirming work on behalf of empathy and reconciliation, he – along with others – continues to promote an alternative to the destructive forces of anti-normalization, pro-boycott and violence in the Palestinian community…and beyond.

Today I talked to Daoudi about his book, co-edited with Prof. Munther S. Dajani Daoudi, Prof. Martin Leiner, Dr. Zeina M. Barakat, Teaching Empathy and Reconciliation In Midst Of Conflict (Wasatia Press, 2016).


Renee Garfinkel is a Jerusalem-based psychologist, writer, and Middle East commentator for the nationally syndicated TV program, The Armstrong Williams Show.. Write her at r.garfinkel@yahoo.com or tweet @embracingwisdom.