In a 1999 article, "American Muslims vs. American Jews," I argued that Jews in the United States need to redirect their worries from Christian antisemites to Muslim ones:
The real and present danger is by no means the pro-Israel Christian Coalition but the rabidly anti-Semitic Muslim Arab Youth Association; not Jerry Falwell but Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman; not those who wish, at the very worst, to convert Jews but those who, with every means at their disposal, intend to do them harm, who have already acted on those violent intentions, and who if unchecked will surely do so again.
For a small but vivid example of Muslim animus, note what took place recently concerning the Baltimore County school system and its 2006-07 calendar, as reported by Louis Llovio in the Towson Times under the title that heads this entry, "Muslim Group Targets Jewish Holidays."
After nearly three years of tension between the school system and the Baltimore County Muslim Council over adding two Islamic holidays, Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha, the 2007-08 draft calendar again does not include the Islamic holidays. It does, however, list two Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, meaning that all schools in the district will be closed on those days.
The calendar committee did, however, agree to allow Muslim students and teachers to be excused on their holidays and to monitor the number of absences to determine if the days should be cancelled.
Bash Pharoan, president of the Baltimore County Muslim Council, responded by accusing the school board of "racial profiling" and of not turning over the statistics used to determine the need for Jewish holidays. Further, he demanded that the school board drop the Jewish holidays and would not rule out legal action if the school board rejected his demand.
Arthur Abramson, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, termed Pharoan's action "an attempt to wage de-facto warfare between Muslims and Jews in Baltimore County. This has nothing to do with the best interests of the school district nor the students." He called the attempt to eliminate the Jewish holidays "religious discrimination." Also, he described the closings on Jewish holidays as purely economic, due to the fact that the board found it too costly to hire substitutes to fill in for observant Jewish teachers.
Comment: This is another leading indicator that, as I have argued for some time, the golden age of American Jewry is coming to a close. (June 7, 2006)
June 14, 2006 update: The eight members of the Baltimore County school board voted unanimously yesterday to approve the draft calendar for the 2007-08 school year, meaning no days off for Muslim holidays.