CAIR taps Jewish filmmaker to lead Philadelphia chapter
By Omar Sacirbey, Washington Post
RNS () — The Council on American-Islamic Relations has hired a Jewish filmmaker and interfaith activist as executive director of the advocacy group’s Philadelphia office.
Jacob Bender is the highest ranking non-Muslim in the Washington-based organization, and the first to lead one of its chapters.
“Many Muslims face daily suspicion, not unlike other immigrant groups throughout history,” said Bender, explaining that he felt people had a responsibility to confront bigotry. “When one group of Americans is attacked, it lessens the quality of democracy for all of us.”
Bender acknowledged it will be challenging to represent Muslims as a non-Muslim, but said his Jewish background had some advantages.
“As part of a community that has historically faced persecution in Europe and the United States as well, I hope that I would bring a certain amount of sensitivity.”
For the last few years, Bender directed and produced a documentary film, “Out of Cordoba,” which explored Muslim-Jewish relations and the “clash of civilizations” theory through the writings of two medieval thinkers, Averroes, a Muslim, and his Jewish counterpart, Moses Maimonides.
At CAIR, Bender said his work would focus on fighting civil rights violations, discrimination, and hate speech, and promoting relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Original post: CAIR taps Jewish filmmaker to lead Philadelphia chapter