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An Open Letter to the Muslim World


What Would Your Grandfather Say?

— An informal entry in my personal blog today, in honor of the 15th anniversary of 9/11 

Dear cousin,

As relatives that go back thousands of years to our shared grandfather Abraham, let me get straight to the point.

You are all believers of Allah — a good G-d who created all human beings with the purpose of transforming this world with virtue and justice.

You proudly trace your lineage to Ishmael son of Abraham — the one and only Abraham who stood up to an entire pagan world and single-handedly pioneered the path of kindness and love, as documented in the Torah (what you call Tawrat).

So here is my question to you: With atrocities being perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Allah — mass beheadings, rapes and murders of women and children, the killings of thousands of innocent people — why do we not hear any voice of protest from any of you?

Some argue that you silently condone and agree with this behavior. Others say that you may not advocate this viloent approach of creating an Islamic Caliphate and would prefer that it be done peacefully, but you can understand and therefore tolerate your fellow Muslims who do embrace these militant methods.

We prefer to believe that 1.5 billion of you do not approve of these methods. But if that is the case, why are none of you — not individually and not collectively, not your laymen and not your leaders — crying out in outrage?! Why are your Imams silent about this in their weekly Kutbahs (sermons)?

How about your children: What are they being told about these brutal methods?

And finally, the biggest question of all: Did you ever think what your grandfather and ancestor — the founder of your faith — would say about this behavior?

When Abraham became aware of G-ds plan to destroy the infidel cities of Sodom and Gemorrah, what did he do? One would have perhaps thought that Abraham would have celebrated the annihilation of the non-believers, the apostates and the sinners. But no! We are told — and you can read it in your very own Quran — that Abraham prayed for them, beseeching G-d to spare the city in merit of the righteous people that may live there!

So please explain: How is it possible that instead of following Abraham’s path of compassion, instead of praying for (people you consider to be) infidels, you are murdering them in cold blood?!

How can anyone claiming to be Abraham’s child — the very Abraham who introduced love and kindness to the world; the very same Abraham who prayed for an infidel nation — behead another human being?!

The basis of Islam, built upon the Torah, states that every human being is created in the Divine Image. How then can someone claiming to be a believer gruesomely murder the… Divine Image, while crying out Allahu Akhbar, God is the greatest?!…

Is this what Abraham sacrificed his life for, so that his grandchildren would in his name and in the name of G-d terrorize the world?!

How would your grandfather Abraham react to your actions??…

Read More on this topic.


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My mothers family they look like the kin of Anne Frank. Although I wouldn’t identify as jewish, or any other formalised tradition of worship, it occurs to me that in the case of Gentiles, where Moses lead gods chosen people from Egypt, it appears to describe a people not out of favour, more so a people who do not require the counsel, or guidance that the Jewish nation does. Which says to me that this is a reason for a so called chosen people. You dont hear much about the Gentiles, you hear about gods people tearing each other up… Read more »

Arnie Herz

Rabbi Jacobson, I am a big fan of yours and I am almost always inspired by your articles. I have your books and watch your lectures. This column disgusts and disappoints me for the same reasons well articulated by Alon in the comments section. Bashing the entire Muslim world seems like a cheap way to rile up your readers and fails to capture the complexity and nuance of the reality. It’s lazy and dangerous. You should retract what you wrote. It’s not Rebbe-like, it’s not constructive and it does not being is closer to Moschiach.


I don’t know where you all have been. Maybe it’s because the news never covers events and statements and actions of Muslim in the prevention of violence or in the denouncing of criminal behavior in the name of G-d.

Begin with this page – there are several others on this site full of links to that address Muslim statements, actions, and prevention efforts.


I am not Jewish but , To the ones who said that the Jewish bible condones the extinction of the Amelek ? But to help the Torah and Judaism .. I do not see any Jews hurting people for no reason.. All i see is extremist of ‘others’ , other religions hurting people .. why is that ? All i can say is i do not care which text is true or not.. I do not care which god told you to hurt someone.. I say tell that god to be quiet.. God has no right to tell someone to… Read more »


I am not Jewish but , To the ones who said that the Jewish bible condones the extinction of the Amelek ? But to help the Torah and Judaism .. I do not see any Jews hurting people for no reason.. All i see is extremist of ‘others’ , other religions hurting people .. why is that ? All i can say is i do not care which text is true or not.. I do not care which god told you to hurt someone.. I say tell that god to be quiet.. God has no right to tell someone to… Read more »


While I agree that the Muslim world should decry the horrific unspeakable atrocities as mentioned, please correct me if I am not understanding but it appears that the Torah itself (including this week’s parsha, Shoftim) commands the Jews (despite being Avraham’s descendents) to destroy infidel nations unless they repent (eg, Hittites, Amorites, etc etc). If you can please explain the difference. Thank you.


We are all family! Our behavior, starting with Adam and Eve and going forward has often been dysfunctional and destructive. We have the Noahide laws and the Torah to give us structure and guidance but look at the world around us! We have genetic defects which somehow enable us to behave the way we do. I see no end to it, regardless of what religion is involved, to change except, I hope, when Moshiach arrives.

Morris Abadi

Dear Rabbi, your open letter is moving, but not for muslims. Why? Because islamism is not about Allah or Avraham Avinu. It’s about Mohamed. And what they do, is exactly what their main prophet preached.

Miryam Swerdlov

Loved it. So good. Thanks. Can I ‘borrow’ it??

Lisa Fogel

I would wonder if they are afraid. Living among a group that support hate and killing, speaking up could be very fearful. I like that you put this out there. It is important to stand up for hate.


Maybe explain why Judaism demands that Amalekites be murdered, men, women and children. That may help clarify the situation. In the Jewish Torah there also is plenty of reference to murder and extreme punishments to transgressors of the law. The fact that these things do not happen now is immaterial, factually in the perfect conditions this is what the Torah expects. Please clarify. Thanks a lot!

Rena Oppenheimer

Nice try — and laudable — but naive. You ignore Islamic history. You ignore the example set by their pedophile, slave driving, sexual deviant, war mongering, head chopping, genocidal megalomaniacal prophet. You ignore the multiple violent commands in the Koran to “kill the infidel wherever you find him.” You ignore the rampant anti-semitism and Christian hatred that underscores the core tenets of the religion. It was made up from whole cloth from some violent maniac who heard things about Judaism and Christianity. The sooner you understand this and speak the truth and pass it on, the sooner the rest of… Read more »


As I understand it, Mahommad is the founder of [their] faith, not Avraham Aveinu. And Mahommad lived a life of murder, pillage and violence. Is not Bnei Ishmael simply following the teaching of this madman?

What would the world look like without their vicious ideology….


Rather than rewrite what others write, I thought I would send this article, below.The hateful parts of Islam are contained in the Hadith which has been translated into English. and is available in The Al Qaeda Reader by Raymond Ibrahim on Amazon. Mohammad had 2 parts to his life. In the beginning he was hopeful and he thought he would be accepted as a prophet by Jews. He admired Jews for their literacy. They rejected him. Then he was disillusioned and hated the Jews. Therefore the Muslim religion has 2 things to say on most subjects. The problem is that… Read more »


Christians and Jews trace back their spiritual DNA to Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Muslims trace back their spiritual DNA through Ishmael. Thats where it all gets twisted. The Torah teaches us that Ishmael’s mother was Hagar, who was Pharoah’s daughter, so Ishmael is an offspring of Klipas Mitzrayim, the high magic of Egyptian depravity. The Torah calls him an “ohdom pereh”, which Rashi says is a lover of deserts, trapping living things, and “his hand is on everyone”. King David (Psalm 83)tells us that the Ishmaelites, Moab, and the Hagrites made a pact against the Jewish G-d and that… Read more »


How would this apply to an individual struggle? Step brothers grow up one good and one labeled bad. This is like myself only growing in to maturity having been effected by my brothers bad behavior and loving him simultaneously. Can I forgive my imperfect self judging him by my parents ways or do I have to be perfect the good one? Is all of this real fighting and warring playing out really an illusion until we get our own step brother inside of us under one mind? My step brother, Ishmael, was fun and naughty and saw life grotesquely and… Read more »

shimon kroll

You may have left a very significant piece out as to why the Muslims are not responding in protest. Its very simple. They dont want these mass murderers to turn on them


If you start with Google you can actually find many instances of Muslims publicly protesting against terrorism. I hope you wish to recognize the diversity of the Muslim world, and that not all are the same. Please also remember those Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust, precisely because of their faith. Editors note: Yes, we acknowledge that there are some Muslims protesting todays atrocities. Here is more documentation of that: Muslims Condemning Terrorism But, lets be honest — the protests are far too few, with nothing being heard from the leadership of the major Muslim countries. And definitely no… Read more »


I completely agree with what is written here, I only say it is incomplete. Asking the children of Ishmael what their grandfather Abraham would say demands that we likewise ask the question of the children of Isaac. Yes, the beheadings and other atrocities are ghastly – so are the bombings of apartment buildings, hospitals and schools. It is time for ALL of Abrahams children to embrace teshuvah.

David Presler

Dearest Rabbi Jacobson, I would add to this a background in perspective, that the war we are facing is a battle of principalities, a war of good against evil. In this case, there is no logic, true those masses are silent, and the passion of the Muslim world could be easily turned to one which would defeat these perpetrators of bringing the world to its knees. But there must be something larger going on, behind the scenes, so to speak. I dont know what it is, end of times, some master plan, but its not fun. I dont think we… Read more »

Rephael Mendel Perkel

Thank you for this. Let all Muslims answer this challenge. Let all nations and cultures demand an answer. Would you rather submit in cowardice to lies and violence or be a hero for Truth and Compassion?

Kenneth Cohen

Abraham sacrificed his life?

Thank you for your letter! Hopefully this is just the beginning of a reeducation of the Muslim community, to empower themselves to speak truth to power

Leybl Botwinik

Very well stated.
Only … Allah — a good G-d
(are there also bad Gods?)
sounds like there is more than one God.

It should be underscored, that the God of Mohammed is also the God of Moses. There is no other God. Just different names, and different ways to serve him.


THANK YOU 🙂 Toda Raba !


You are addressing the Muslim world as a whole, and rightly ask about standing by and not speaking out. Firstly, you forget one option is a fear of speaking out in the face of extremists willing to use violence. Secondly, towards the end of the piece you turn the tone in a mean way to ask why they (you) are murdering people, certainly an unfair indictment of all practitioners of a religion. I thought this change in address undermined the whole piece by suddenly addressing the Muslim world as though they are all murderers, which is patently untrue. Finally, maybe… Read more »

Shmuel Goldsmith

Some argue that you silently condone and agree with this behavior. Others say that you may not advocate this violent approach of creating an Islamic Caliphate and would prefer that it be done peacefully, but you can understand and therefore tolerate your fellow Muslims who do embrace these militant methods.

These arent the only possible reasons. A third one is fear for the well-being of themselves and their families should they openly oppose the violent elements in Islamic society. This is not an idle concern, as Im sure you know.

Robert M. Adler

Rabbi, with all due respect
You are trying to use logic to convince fanatics about the errors of their ways; it wont work. Someone once told me that the only way to steer a jackass, the animal used for plowing a field and comparable to a religious fanatic, is with a 2 X 4 behind its ear.


Thank you for voicing what Ive been wondering for a while now. Where is this being sent to beyond your readership?

Arnie Ross

Your article really expresses the dilemma that the Muslims must have in looking at the killings and atrocities we see committed. You have summarized it well and it calls for a good answer.


I grew up in the Caucasian Mountains. There were 120 nationalities (better to call them “different nations tribes”, because of their small population, but with distinct backgrounds and languages) in that small location and most of them were Muslims. Muslims, as I know, were pretty like Jews: all of them accepted the code of Mountain laws. The laws mostly were the same as Jewish laws; without constitution, court and government the code of laws itself ruled life of that colorful society. They did not mix with one another and strongly linked to their roots and borders but at the same… Read more »

Melinda Ribner

Thank you for this letter. Please consider sending it to various mosques with an invitation to privately or publicly dialogue with you. You might make a significant difference here. Thank you for all that you do to raise peoples awareness.